ROCKY Bay is set for a $14 million upgrade after their four storey building application in Mosman Park was approved at a Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) meeting yesterday .
The organisation supports people of all ages with disabilities, offering training courses, therapy, life skills classes and more.
Chief executive Michael Tait said the group has been in their current western suburbs facilities since 1978; he said they were no longer appropriate, with multiple issues including a ramp affected by concrete cancer.
“The facility is ageing and it’s no longer fit for purpose,” Mr Tait said.
Local residents and councillors suggested the new building should be three storeys rather than four.
“(This application) has been a five year journey, and we’ve honed it down to the must-have metreage; many of our services are a lifeblood for our clients, and as a charity we’re not prepared to compromise that,” Mr Tait said.
Neighbour Brian Millmore said a four storey development would be ‘totally out of keeping’ with Mosman Park.
“Our home is one lot away from Rocky Bay,” he said.
“We paid a lot of money for our block and home, and this will impact on our amenity and privacy.”
Mr Tait said the development was centred on the block to reduce impact, with PTS Town Planning’s Peter Simpson stating the new building would be set back 68m from the western boundary.
The JDAP panel asked a series of questions about any commercial intent for the facilities and whether more people would travel to the site once upgraded.
Mr Simpson said the development was purely to improve existing services at Rocky Bay.
“The intent of this development isn’t to increase the number of staff or clients,” he said.
“The primary objective is all facilities are for Rocky Bay training.”
The proposed fourth floor of the site came under scrutiny with Mr Tait stating it would be used for group activities for parents, telehealth consultations between medical professionals and their regional counterparts, and child assessment.
Town of Mosman Park officer Gabriela Poezyn said throughout the application process the Town had been unable to obtain information about the activity level at the new building, and the fourth floor had been flagged as a training and function facility.
“No one could establish what ‘no increase in activity’ would mean,” she said.
Councillor Andrew Maurice said he understood the reasons behind Rocky Bay wanting a renewal of the site.
“I totally support the good work Rocky Bay do in the community,” he said.
“But given that there is nearly 6000sq m of existing space, it’s hard for me to believe there won’t be intensification of the site.”
Cr Zenda Jonson said the fourth level was the crux of the matter, and said it would result in extra traffic, people and services.
“I think it’s quite fanciful to suggest numbers won’t increase; the fourth level lends itself to significant increased activity,” she said.
The development was approved 3-2, with the use of ‘function facility’ struck from the fourth floor but ‘training facility’ retained.