There is a need for boarding-house accommodation as part of a comprehensive shelter mix, and it is the responsibility of any proper society to make provision for this kind of development.
In my younger days, I lived in a boarding house and had many friends who lived in boarding houses, so I strongly resent Kevin Woods’ characterisation of boarding-house occupants as criminals who will threaten children and senior citizens and cause a deterioration in community standards (“Inappropriate developments will destroy local ambience”, edition 480).
Leaving aside the fact that it would be difficult to damage the ambience of Ocean Beach Rd, does Mr Wood have any evidence of the level of anti-social activity by boarding-house residents, compared to the standard level that prevails in all neighbourhoods?
I can only say that, the only time I ever had to take out an AVO, it was against a neighbour in a regular Umina street of single-family houses, not, I hasten to add, against Mr Wood.
In principle, Ocean Beach Rd is an appropriate location for this kind of residence, as it is convenient to community facilities and served by a regular bus schedule which is adequate for transportation purposes. (I use it myself.)
The area, in fact, is zoned for this kind of use, and there is no reason to suppose that a development of this sort will detract from the neighbourhood environment, provided that it observes all the standards laid down in the relevant planning instruments.
It is the purpose of a development-control plan to ensure that all permitted residential developments are respectful of one another and provide appropriate living conditions for the occupants, while protecting the quality of life of adjoining residents.
The last time I checked, we were all human beings living together, so the stigmatizing of one group, on no grounds but personal bias, is not acceptable.
Of course, I cannot say that the proposed development at 454 Ocean Beach Rd hews to this requirement: on the face of it, it appears probably not.
Again, I can only say that, in our boarding house, everybody had a car, so that a provision of six spaces for 11 rooms seems ridiculously inadequate, bearing in mind that it will eventually be necessary to ban parking on Ocean Beach Rd so that proper parking on site seems an essential.
This is particularly the case, if, as the developers claim, the target group will not be low-income.
However, it is a little puzzling that the residents will “live independently rather than share facilities”, since it is the sharing of facilities that is the defining feature of a boarding house.
This leads to the suspicion that the building is actually an apartment block, masquerading as a boarding house, in order to avoid meeting proper planning standards.
Not being noted for acuteness of perception, our planning administrators are quite likely to fall for this subterfuge.
Let us have a reasoned debate on the merits and otherwise of this development but let us avoid personality slurs against particular social groups as a whole, especially when they are based on nothing but hearsay and shock-jock emotionalism.
Email, 17 Oct 2019
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy