Councillors must send a strong message over the blatant flouting of consent conditions attached to the Marian College redevelopment.
The encroachment of a new apartment block by one metre onto the beautiful old Our Lady of Mercy convent is egregious. It looks ugly and detracts greatly from a significant historical item that demands space.
It was not in the original design or any subsequent modification. Only after it started did the developer lodge a modified application. A report to Tuesday’s meeting states that even before the latter was granted, work continued, sparking planners’ request to stop. Subsequently, a compromise was reached “given the advanced nature of works.”
What message does this send? While other CBD developers are jumping through hoops providing heritage and other reports, this one is allowed to continue.
Tuesday’s report does not adequately explain why the building was moved. The only explanation is that during excavation work, “it was recognised that the carpark should be reconfigured in the northwestern corner to avoid disturbance to the existing convent building and the zone of influence.”
Where is the evidence of this? Surely we are entitled to more information.
The developer was given considerable leeway in the original approval of this project. It invoked a special clause in the Local Environmental Plan allowing him to demolish most of the site if it resulted in an overall better outcome. We applaud his beautiful restoration of the former Our Lady of Mercy Chapel. It looks stunning.
But the approval also allowed demolition of some great old structures, including an EC Manfred designed building in the courtyard.
The apartment block’s encroachment on the convent is an abuse of the council’s goodwill. Mayor Bob Kirk at least thinks it can’t be pulled down now. Maybe not, but councillors have an obligation to impose a heavy penalty as a deterrent to others.
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