Thursday, May 17, 2007

Natalie's address to Council

So why am I here tonight.

You have heard previously from Christopher Stenhouse, who is overseas, and Karl Sternecker last Monday night about the local community’s resolve to conserve these properties. Residents were outraged when we read the sales promotion for the sites that exhorts potential purchasers to “Bring their architect” and “Bring their bulldozer”. Not hearing anything from Council after Christopher lodged our initial petition, back in February, we took it upon ourselves to attempt to save the trees on the properties. Unfortunately, our negotiations with the owner failed. However, we now have $300 -$500,000 in pledges from 40-50 people and extensive press coverage in North Shore Times, Northern Courier and the ABC.

We are here tonight to ask for Council assistance for a conservation strategy for the properties.
Basically, we intend to establish a ‘not-for-profit’ company that will purchase the properties using the community pledges as a deposit with a mortgage over the properties. We then propose to consolidate, then reconfigure, the lots and on-sell them to some of the adjoining owners and sell the existing house lot. We also propose to create a second house allotment somewhere on #39 that we finally plan to sell with an approved DA to recover our costs.

However, we still have a snag to overcome. We look like we are around $200,000 short to make this plan work. We are asking Council to join with us by investing $200,000 as a loan into our planned ‘not-for-profit’ company.

What is in this for Council?

There is extensive local cultural, environmental and natural heritage value on the sites including trees listed on Council’s Natural Heritage Register. It would be our intention to provide positive covenants (in Council’s favour) over the land that contains these valuable community assets (predominately along the upper terrace fronting the street). We are also looking at how we might include some reflective seating at the front of the property for passer-bys to stop, sit and reflect on the gullies and forests that Charlotte (Chattie) Harnett is purported to have contemplated and painted on her daily wanderings, back when.

We see our initiative as being aligned with the concept of a ‘Conserve Society’ – a most appropriate community response to Global Warming and Climate Change. We believe that what we are proposing is one type of community initiative to address Greenhouse Gas Emissions as discussed in the recent Council brochures we received with our rates notices.

We are prepared to provide two seats on the Board of our proposed company for Council nominees.

Once again, we estimate that we need a $200,000 loan from Council for twelve months to make this all work. We ask that you support the motion we understand that Councillor Fogarty will be moving.

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