Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Save my suburb

From the Inner West Courier, 27 June 2007

DAVID Champ is only eight years old, but he is already fighting for the preservation of his neighbourhood.

Along with his mum, Susan McGrath-Champ, and 10-year-old sister Michelle who has collected signatures on three petitions, David is part of a groundswell of opposition to plans to dramatically increase the population of Burwood.

David has made his own submission to Burwood Council, which is currently seeking public comment on its draft Town Centre Local Environment Plan (LEP).

``It's a very sunny day but the skyscraper blocks the sun from our house on the left,'' he wrote in his submission.

``The shadow comes down and will `spook' Burwood.

``The cars and crashes will increase.''

David drew a picture and wrote his accompanying letter the day after a family dinner-table discussion about the LEP.

The McGrath-Champs live in an area earmarked for 10-storey developments under the LEP.

One block from their back fence, a vacant site stands in an area that could include developments to a maximum height of 17 storeys.

Dr McGrath-Champ told the Inner-West Weekly she was one of several residents doorknocking neighbours to raise awareness of what council officers have proposed.

These include up to 20-storey developments in a ``central area'' around Burwood railway station; up to 17-storey developments in a ``core area'' of the CBD; and 10-storey developments to the boundaries of the town centre.

``Everyone we've spoken to about this has been more than concerned,'' Dr McGrath-Champ said.

``But most of them didn't have a clue about it before we told them.''

More than 100 residents have attended information sessions held by Burwood Council to discuss various issues, including traffic congestion and building heights.

The meetings have been managed by an independent adjudicator, who will make recommendations to council staff when everyone has had their say.

Mayor John Faker said the feedback had been largely positive.

``Some people are concerned with the height of the buildings but unfortunately that's the cost of meeting the population growth figures we've been set,'' he told the Inner-West Weekly.

``If we set the building heights shorter, they'd be spread out more.''

The LEP is on public exhibition until Thursday, July 5.

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