Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New look CSPC strengthens Sartor's control over City Planning Future

Former Sydney Lord Mayor and now Labor Planning Minister Frank Sartor has strengthened his control over the Council he formally ran with the purging of the government appointees to the Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC) and replacement with four of his own appointees - two of whom come from within his own department.
The CSPC is a hybrid committee with four government appointments and two Councillors and the Lord Mayor created by legislation to keep town hall politics out of the big end of town planning matters. eCouncillor has been a member elected by the Council since 2005.
The CSPC not only deals with all developments valued at more than $50 million, it also importantly controls the content of new planning rules (LEP's). Currently the City is developing a new LEP called the City Plan, this is running two years behind Clover Moore's original promised completion date and delivered by a strategic planning department without a Director - a void filled by an over-stretched CEO. One suspects the new more assertive looking CSPC will move quickly to take greater control over the City Plan agenda. Watch this space.....

Sartor's former staff replace key architect

Catharine Munro, Urban Affairs EditorJune 27, 2007

THE Government Architect has been removed from a significant role in city planning by the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, even though the Government had assured Parliament he had no intention of doing so.The Government Architect, Peter Mould, will no longer serve on the Central Sydney Planning Committee, which approves any development worth more than $50 million in the CBD.
"The City of Sydney is back under the control of Frank Sartor," said Shayne Mallard, a Liberal councillor who serves on the planning committee.
Mr Sartor announced yesterday that three of his key departmental planners, along with the architect Keith Cottier, would serve on the board. But Mr Mould, who answers to the Department of Commerce rather than the Department of Planning, did not have his contract renewed.
"I think you need to refresh things," Mr Sartor said. "The skill set has been changed to match the current challenge, and that's all I have done."
Since two positions were due to expire this week, he said, he had decided to change all state-appointed spots. But the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, who chairs the committee, said it was "a pity to lose the current members' expertise and particularly the significant role played by the Government Architect".
Among the appointments are three people who worked under Mr Sartor at the City of Sydney, where he was lord mayor from 1991 to 2003. They include Gail Connolly, the executive director of Metropolitan Planning, who would be able to ensure that the City of Sydney's sustainable strategies and those of the Department of Planning were aligned, Mr Sartor said. Also on the committee will be Jason Perica, another former planner with the City of Sydney, who is now the executive director, strategic sites at the department. A former government architect, Chris Johnson, who is the head of cities and centres at the department, will also serve again.
While Mr Sartor said the appointments followed the law governing appointments, the City of Sydney Act 1988, the Royal Institute of Architects labelled the decision
"The Government Architect of NSW has historically played a very important role in the architecture of the city," said the institute's national president, Alec Tzannes. Among its roles, the committee is overseeing the development of a local environment plan, which will govern planning rules for the local government area. Last November, when amendments to the act were passed just before the state election, Mr Sartor's representative in the upper house, John Della Bosca, told Parliament he had been assured there was no intention of change.
"This minister has advised me that he has no intention of removing the Government Architect from this appointment," Mr Della Bosca said.
Other new appointments to the committee include Christine Covington, a lawyer with planning experience, and Elizabeth Crouch, a former policy director with the Housing Industry Association. The director-general of the Department
of Planning, Sam Haddad and Mr Perica would serve as alternate board members,
along with Mr Cottier.

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