Pittwater Council voted this week to support a statewide campaign calling on the state government to restore Section 94 developer contributions to their full level and will not rezone any more land for new homes in Warriewood Valley until this is done.
Section 94 contributions are the funds paid to local Councils by developers to provide community infrastructure, facilities and services for new developments. The state government announced last month that it would cap Section 94 contributions to $20,000 per dwelling.
Previously, Pittwater had been levying developers in Warriewood Valley up to $62,000 for each new home to provide roads & pathways, sportsfields, parks & playgrounds, stormwater drainage, community facilities and library services.
A report tabled to Councillors on Monday night by senior staff outlined the impact of the state government’s cap on Section 94 funds on Pittwater’s budget. For Warriewood Valley alone the shortfall is approximately $85 million over the next 20 years. Other Section 94 Plans across Pittwater may also be affected.
The report also argues that the state government’s definition of ‘essential infrastructure’ is too narrow and excludes important community facilities such as sportsfields, parks and playgrounds, community and library facilities. In the case of Warriewood Valley it says the $20,000 cap will not even fund what is deemed to be essential infrastructure.
As a result, the report says ‘serious financial shortfalls … would arise in delivering facilities.’ It goes on to say that the costs of providing new infrastructure in Warriewood Valley will have to be borne out of general revenue if the cap on developer contributions continues.
The report concludes by saying that if the Council is to fund capital works in the future it will have to apply for a special levy on new ratepayers in Warriewood Valley, almost tripling the current rates payable.
A general rise for all Pittwater ratepayers to cover the shortfall was seen as being inequitable but the report says it may have to be considered if the state government decision stands.
Mayor Harvey Rose said the situation was ‘extremely serious’ and the Council could find itself in an unsustainable financial position if the state government did not reverse its decision.
“We have already had to put two new sportsfields in Warriewood on hold and shelve plans to build a local playground at the end of Garden Street,” he said
“In Pittwater we already have a significant backlog of infrastructure needing improvements and this cost shift from developers further exacerbates this situation.”
“As a direct result of the State Government’s $20,000 cap we cannot afford the shortfall in funding for infrastructure for new developments in Warriewood Valley, which is why we’re calling a halt to any more rezoning,” he said.
“If the state government thinks this decision will create more new homes and make them cheaper, it is sadly mistaken.
“The State Government appears to be equating higher density with affordability and by capping developer contributions is further driving their high density agenda.
“With higher density comes the need for more infrastructure and facilities, not less.”
To read the full report visit www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/council