“The Duke” Newsletter March 2016

 “THE DUKE “

         March 2016 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.

We have had a prolonged “ Indian Summer” in March with water temperatures as high as 25 degrees, king tides, and muggy conditions. Yet we have also had below average rainfall.

Sounds of Silence Continue on Village Construction site.

Although excavation work has recommenced on the “Kahana” development on the northern side of Freshwater Village, there is an eerie silence at the neighbouring former Growers now “ Freshwater “ development site. This is after a golden summer, ideal for demolition, excavation and building. Yet the sounds of silence have prevailed for four months, and some entity must be bearing the holding costs. One also suspects that lawyers are also cleaning up on contractual disputes.

SX Projects, whose bunting still ironically adorns these sites, went bust in December, and work on the site has been largely non-existent ever since. This has meant that the community has had to deal with an “ Indian” summer of dusty situations, and an Olympic pool-sized excavation prone to groundwater run-off at 18 Marmora Street.

Voluntary Liquidations within the Construction Industry cause concern.

The SX Projects situation is one that bedevils the construction industry.

The State Government has long been concerned at the propensity of small to medium sized construction companies to go into voluntary liquidation. In recent times this has included the demise of Kell and Rigby; Southern Cross Properties; The St. Hillier Group (currently making a comeback) and now SX Projects among many. Often these groups are constructing on multiple sites.

In 2012, the then Premier, Barry O’Farrell, emphasised the level of the Government’s frustration when he stated that “ there is growing concern with construction companies who enter into agreements, take out contracts, don’t meet their obligations, and inevitably seem to screw sub-contractors”. He might have added to the list those who have bought into residential developments on the expectation of a timely settlement and those nearby small businesses who suffer reduced turnover and other disruptions.

CONSTRUCTION SET TO COMMENCE ON MOUNTIES “NEW DAWN” DIGGERS DEVELOPMENT.

On a good note, work is about to commence in early April on the $140m Club, restaurants, recreation facilities and seniors living accommodation on the Diggers site. The well-respected building company, Ganellen, has been appointed to undertake the construction and it will take a minimum of three years. Hoardings, perimeter fencing and New Jersey style traffic barriers have already been erected. It is anticipated that the current car park will be shortly demolished along with the eastern parts of the Club and the only remaining house.

Already work is also being undertaken to establish a modified “Deconstructed Diggers” club operation with an imported mobile café, rooftop bar, and up market restaurant. This will enable the Diggers to continue operation during the 4-year long construction phase.

The excavation of the site to enable underground parking will involve the removal of 150,000 cu.metres of rock. It would have been more except that Mounties decided not to go down to a further parking level. Even so it is one of the largest excavations in Sydney at the present time.

This demolition and excavation work has been sub-contracted to NMK Pty Ltd., a company that was recently fined $120,000 in the District Court in 2015 for breaches of the Safe Work Act when one of its employees, an excavator operator, was seriously injured when he suffered skull damage from being impaled by a steel bar that penetrated the cabin of his excavator.  Lets hope that accidents of this kind do not occur at Freshwater.

A critical site issue will be the daily removal of rock and spoil by trucks. This will put a heavy burden on neighbouring Evans Street, Carrington Parade, Wyndora Avenue and even as far as Abbott Road.

Currently the Seniors Living Accommodation is apparently 65% sold off the plan.

COMMEMORATIVE ANZAC SERVICE ON SUNDAY 17 APRIL TO BE HELD AT JACKA PARK AND SOLDIERS AVENUE.

A free community event hosted by the Harbord RSL Sub-Branch and the Soldiers Avenue of Honour Stakeholders Group will be held in Jacka Park on Sunday, 17 April from 11am until 1pm. BBQ food and drinks will be on offer and the Northern Beaches Band will perform throughout.

Students from Harbord Public School will be involved with wreath and poppy laying at various sites in the World War 1 precinct of the Soldiers Avenue of Honour.

Local Fire and Rescue Service officers will form the Honour guard for the formal flag raising commemoration at Midday.

All are welcome.

AUSGRID COMPLETES UNDERGROUNDING OF HIGH VOLTAGE CABLING IN SOLDIERS AVENUE.

We have been reporting on the gradual undergrounding of HV cabling over the last two years in the Soldiers Avenue of Honour. This work was undertaken after a series of meetings involving the Friends of Freshwater, Warringah Council, our local MP Mike Baird and Ausgrid Executives. Some of these meetings were held on site in the Avenue. During the process Ausgrid came to appreciate the inherent importance of the Living Memorial represented by these trees.

The Ausgrid undertaking was to do the capital works across two financial years. Upper Soldiers Avenue was under grounded in 2015 and kiosks were installed at both the Harbord Road end and at Oliver Street. This work alleviates the need to lop street trees in order to reduce fire risk associated with uninsulated cabling. In net effect, it protects and increases the longevity of the heritage-listed trees in Soldiers Avenue, which are the cornerstone of the Avenue of Honour

Work was completed on 16 March in Albert Street and Lower Soldiers Avenue to establish the final cabling link. HV cabling was then finally removed in Soldiers Avenue and the height of telegraph poles was reduced.

The Friends of Freshwater are working further with Ausgrid to recover the natural shapes of the predominantly Queensland Brush Box trees. Arboreal work in the Avenue will be done after the conclusion of Centenary of Anzac commemorations.

FRESHIE FEMALE ATHLETES EXCELL

The Duke was chuffed to observe the outstanding success of Freshie residents, Georgia Miller and Naomi Scott at the recent NSW Surf Carnival.  Both competed in a range of events that included the iron woman and each performed creditably. Both are improving rapidly in the various components of their surfing events. Georgia competes for Newport SLSC and Naomi for Manly SLSC.

SECOND STAGE OF QUEENSCLIFF STEPS REVAMP NOW COMPLETED.

Warringah council contractors have completed the second stage of the Queenscliff steps upgrade.

These steps, which were first built in 1880,form an important pedestrian access way between the manly to Queenscliff promenade and freshwater beach. The first stage, which included the installation of a bike assist, was completed in 2014. The second stage was completed last week, and the third stage will commence shortly. It is more difficult as it also includes important storm water drainage activity. A cost of $100k has been estimated for these works.

BECOME NEW FRIENDS OF FRESHWATER MEMBER OR SIMPLY RENEW YOUR EXISTING MEMBERSHIP for 2016

As you can see, we constantly need to raise our voice as a community on a variety of issues. Join us and strengthen our voice and yours.2016 memberships are now open at $10 per year via a simple transfer to FOF’s account at Freshwater Community Bank (633000/138650791) or via a visit to the welcoming staff at the Branch.

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