“The Duke” Newsletter February 2016


February 2016 Update from The Friends of Freshwater Inc.

It has been a very muggy February, with high humidity and almost no rain. This is in stark contrast to January, which was the wettest January for forty years. Cyclone Winston, which recently devastated parts of Fiji, is producing a by-product of heavy seas along the coast that are almost too powerful and messy for good surfing.


The Ausgrid undertaking to protect the heritage-listed trees in Soldiers Avenue is reaching finality. This is after 5 years of negotiation involving the Friends of Freshwater and both our local member, Mike Baird, and Warringah Council engineers.

Work has commenced today in Albert Street to complete the final link that will enable the removal of high voltage cabling in lower Soldiers Avenue. Previously low voltage cabling has successfully been sheathed in insulted cable and bundled. This removes the need for wholesale lopping of the trees.

We are working further with Ausgrid to recover the natural shapes of the predominantly Queensland Brush Box trees.


The largest land holdings in Freshwater Village are the subject of a Development Application involving demolition of buildings, renovation and reconstruction.

In the short term if this proposed development goes ahead, it will inevitably cause considerable upheaval to lessees and their trade.

Landlord, Chris Zakos, who owns all of the southern side of Lawrence Street, from Dowling St. down to the Arcade, is proposing a $4m redevelopment for his parcel of 5 property holdings.

His plan, if approved, will see the demolition of two aging buildings and their replacement with shops at ground level and a mix of offices and residential about. He intends to retain the arcade, but will introduce a service lane at the rear to facilitate deliveries and the collection of waste. This is an eyesore that is currently left on Lawrence Street for collection.  The void above the former Chinese restaurant is intended to be filled with offices and rooftop parking. It will require significant concrete reinforcement.

Although the DA is largely compliant with both the WLEP2011 and the Freshwater Village Master Plan, it is deficient in its provision of parking by a factor of 20%.

Friends of Freshwater Inc. has made a submission to Council detailing this situation and also our concerns with traffic movement in the Village around the Dowling and Lawrence Street intersection.

Lack of adequate parking in Freshwater Village, which has become more acute with the loss of the Growers car park, bedevils its progress. Parking shortfalls apparent in this DA will inevitably spill over to further pressure on other public parking facilities in the Village, particularly the Freshwater Village Plaza. Both the underground and rooftop parking places in this building are almost always full.

This DA has the side benefit that it will negate the approval for a previous development proposed for these properties, which envisaged excavation for underground parking.  Friends of Freshwater was opposed to aspects of that DA in respect of the proposed demolition of the Arcade and the negative impact on the outdoors dining terraces. This new DA spares both.

We await the outcome of the planning assessment in the near future.


Work is scheduled to recommence on the two developments on the northern side of the Village. Apparently the developers of each site, the “ Freshwater” and “ Kahana” are about to settle on a new second tier building company.

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 put up with a ssummer of dusty situations, and an Olympic- sized swimming pool of storm water run-off generating mosquitoes. Fortunately this pool has been recently limed and then drained to negate this prospect.

SX Projects will not be missed in Freshwater but its demise will impact on eight other sites in which it has been involved, and it is symptomatic of a malaise among small to medium building companies that is attracting the attention of ASIC to “ phoenix-like” practices

The losers out of these liquidations are the sub-contractors, workers, and other unsecured creditors such as the ATO and Offices of State Revenue.  The Freshwater community has had to put up with long delays on this construction as have the off-the-plan purchasers of apartments.


There is unprecedented interest in the whole Council amalgamation issue with a significant proportion of the northern beaches population making individual submissions to the Boundary Review.

Both options currently under discussion will see the demise of Warringah Council as an organization. The first, which splits Warringah in two and incorporates its ratepayers into Greater Manly/Greater Pittwater structures, has proved to be as popular as a bull shark in a rock pool. Its proposal to also include Mosman ratepayers, given a presumed commonality, has also been largely rejected.

The Warringah Council proposition of an amalgamated Northern Beaches Council has been gaining strong currency from ratepayers this side of the Narrabeen Bridges. Pittwater ratepayers are adamantly seeking to preserve their stand-alone status

Friends of Freshwater has submitted that a “northern beaches council’ model has a number of significant advantages and few downsides. We say that if Pittwater does not want to be involved, then the status quo should be the fall back position. Each northern beaches council appears to be well-run and in healthy financial shape.

Whatever the outcome, we have raised our concerns with our Local Member and the Boundary Commission about undertakings on a range of projects for Freshwater, which might be harmed, delayed, or simply “lost in translation” by such major organization change.

We are delighted that so many people from Freshwater also lodged submissions with the Boundary Review.


The telltale signs have been there for some time, with Telstra tweaking its broadband capacity from its Freshwater building tower. We now know that NBN coverage will be rolled out to 2300 premises across Freshwater, Brookvale and North Curl Curl in September 2016. Of course this is NBN Light, a fiber to the node technology with slower line speed than originally envisaged. The telling question is whether it will be able to cater for the voracious data demands of NETFLIX, STAN and other similar products?


We are indebted to Freshwater residents, Wendy Machon, Sean Rout and Roy Buirchell, for their outstanding work on uncovering family histories associated with local soldiers who gave service in World War I.

Recently they uncovered evidence detailing the wartime experiences of the three Hughes Brothers who fought at both Gallipoli and in France. One of the brothers, Arthur Edward Hughes was killed at Gallipoli in 1915 while the other two returned safely to the northern beaches after the War to resume their lives. The Hughes family lived at various times in Manly, Queenscliff and Harbord.

According to Ken and Neil Covey, the grandsons of one of the brothers, Alfred Lionel Hughes, it appears that after he died in 1964 his ashes were planted by their grandmother under a tree in Soldiers Avenue, at a ceremony conducted by the Harbord RSL Sub Branch and consecrated by Reverend Jones, the then Minister of St. Marks Anglican Church.

Both Ken and Neil Covey now reside in Narraweena.

The placement of ashes under Avenue of Honour trees, of residents who served in both World War 1 and 2, was apparently a common practice with no less than 6 trees so complemented.


5 Pavilion Street has sat imperiously on the southern headland of Freshwater, perilously close to the cliff face for more than 50 years. It is visible from a large part of Freshwater, and is even a landmark for passing shipping and yachts. Currently, by order from Warringah Council, it is uninhabited and uninhabitable. None of its 12 x 2-bedroom units is occupied and the extent of the corrosion of its electrical wiring makes it dangerous to enter.

By any measure it also an ugly, poorly designed and badly built building. It dominates the surrounding residences in Pavilion Street.

Fortunately it will eventually be demolished and replaced by a more modern version. A DA was recently approved by the Land and Environment Court which will permit a new building will to occupy the same spatial envelope but not repeat the same design mistakes of an era long past.  Friends of Freshwater, and others, raised concerns about geotechnical issues, adequacy of off street garaging and aesthetics of the architectural design. These have been addressed in the Court’s decision.

36 Wyndora is moving towards Demolition and Reconstruction.

Our campaign, along with local residents, to save the faux concrete duplex at 36 Wyndora Ave. in 2015 was successful at Warringah Council, with the DA being refused. However the developer applied to the Land and Environment Court for a 9- apartment complex under the Seniors Living provisions of the EP and A Act.

This took the matter out of the hands of Warringah Council and the Court approved the DA, with stringent provisions relating to storm water retention tanks and easements.

It appears, despite these additional costs, the development is nearing the construction phase with the bulk of the apartments sold off the plan, and with dilapidation work planned.

It appears that the Faux Concrete House of the Obrien family, (which we believe has heritage significance) built in the 1950’s under the serious building constraints of post World War 2 rationing, will shortly be demolished. Sadly another piece of Freshwater’s housing history will be gone forever.


As you can see, we constantly need to raise our voice as a community on avariety 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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