Development Debate Heats Up

Penny Aagaard
Penny Aagaard

Elizabeth Dickson, 69, lived on the mountain for over 35 years until recently when she had to downsize, which meant leaving her mountain home.

With no facilities for people as they age and a limited budget, Elizabeth and her husband had to move into an over 50s village at Logan Reserve.

“It’s the closest we could get to the mountain at a reasonable price,” Elizabeth said.

“It was heartbreaking. It is part of you. I always call it “our mountain”. It’s a community.”

She said they were able to buy their house at Logan for $450,000 and on the mountain they would have struggled to get a one bedroom place for that price.

While she said she didn’t know enough about the proposed plans for the Kidd Street development she had no doubt an over 50s village was needed.

“The mountain needs something like that but done suitably for the locals that’s not overpriced and the water and sewerage is taken into consideration,” she explained.

“Most developments put up for submission the locals will generally squash them because they are worried about the mountain losing its character.”

Penny Aagaard lives right next to proposed development and having lived in Kidd Street for 63 years, is very protective of it.

“It was my mother’s childhood home and my grandparent’s childhood home,” she says of the mountain.

“I was expecting it.”

“When I saw the development it’s a shocking development. It’s more like an ambit claim and so out of keeping with the density that the council planners like.”

Penny has spent ten years regenerating her five acres into a lush wildlife habitat and said the land is a wildlife corridor running from the national park to 30 Kidd Street and is well utilised by a variety of species.

“I wasn’t impressed with the fauna report done by the developers,” Penny stated.

“The wildlife doesn’t just stop at the edge of the scrub.”

The site is surrounded by core koala habitat and remnant ecosystems. 

Like Elizabeth, Penny agrees the aged need consideration. She’d like to see the density of houses proposed significantly reduced and built to accommodate the very elderly with a proportion of the land donated back to parkland.

Heather Shearer is a resident and university researcher in environmental management and said the mountain is unique in having a non-diverse planning layout as well as an elderly demographic. 

“There is little choice for anyone wanting to remain here and downsize.”

However, she said as a town planner she was probably not in favour of the proposed Kidd Street development.

“It’s too large of a scale because we don’t have sewerage and there are bushfire and drought issues, as well as a lot of environmental issues,” she stressed.

“Granny flats would be much better to meet the needs of older residents.”

Heather also felt the mountain doesn’t have the services, such as doctors to support the increase in older people.