Independent Council candidate Chris Sharpe wants a focus on the big issues facing Forest ward in the Local Government Elections.

Mr Sharpe says the Forest area faces a critical period of development and most people do not understand the impacts on their daily lives. He thinks Council needs to take a more proactive and holistic approach.

“What got me motivated in the last few months was I knew the activity in French Forest was just going to go unchallenged. I don’t think the public are fully aware of the big developments that are facing the Forest catchment on top of Allambie over the next six to eight years.

“First off is the deconstruction of the area at the top of Allambie, which is where the new school is. A lot of people are assuming the relocation of Forest High is going to the Aquatic Centre. It’s not.

“There’s two roundabouts. At the top of Allambie Road, you can either go straight down to the Aquatic Centre or turn right to get onto that corner, now it’s going to be a high school. There’s deconstruction, there’s construction, it’s going to be busy.

“When it’s school, you’re going to have 20 or 30 buses morning and afternoon, and 100 P-platers wanting to park everywhere. Then next to it, is going to be a Bunnings going on the old Post Office site. That’s another roundabout with a bunch of tradies and weekend warriors.

“So now on this side, which is the southern side of Warringah Road, is stuff that’s now going to be impacted on all the commuters and travellers and workers that are trying to go up Allambie Road up to that major thoroughfare.

“Then there’s the construction from the Northern Beaches Hospital all the way down to Forest Way, which eventually will have 5,000 dwellings. That’s a lot of cars. They have not done a traffic survey of Allambie Road, Rodborough Road or any of those junctions, because they’re working off the hospital traffic survey study, which only catered for Frenchs Forest Road East and West and Warringah Road. The Allambie Road junction was never factored in, it is a major intersection.

“The residents and commuters have no idea of the amount of traffic that’s going to be this next part. I don’t think it’s intentional, I just think it’s how planning works, they work on a specific project and no one’s holistically looked at the overall impact.

“The Frenchs Forest plan only caters for the new town centre. The relocation of the school will be cause and effect. People thought the school is going to be right down the end of the road. It’s not, it’s now on the busiest corner at the top of Allambie Road and will result in rat runs people haven’t thought about. I’m suggesting that it be better coordinated and there needs to be a holistic traffic solution,” said Mr Sharpe.

Mr Sharpe also wants the Wakehurst Parkway to be flood-proofed, saying that the solutions offered so far do not solve the problem.

“I’ve been battling since 2004 for flood-proofing the Wakehurst Parkway. This latest iteration is very environmentally focused, fair enough, but they haven’t put a turbidity pool, so we’re just going to get the same old result in three or four years and we’ll be cap in hand again.

“So we need to spend a little bit extra and get a turbidity pool. The hospital is a critical piece of infrastructure, and the middle section of the beaches needs to get up there. I want them to get in and get through it as quick as possible for the residents living there,” said Mr Sharpe.

As an Independent candidate, Mr Sharpe says he has not thought about who he would support for Mayor after the election, and even has sympathy for paying the Mayor more money.

“I want to get on and make the council work, make it efficient and make sure that the council is a showpiece the community can be proud of. I don’t want to have political fights. I just want to get consensus. I’m a big fan of Bob Hawke in the old days, mainly because he was the consensus man and I think that’s the important thing. We’re a board of directors.

“I don’t know who I’m going to vote for Mayor if I was elected, because I don’t know what the landscape is. I don’t know who’s who. I know there’s some nice, capable people. Michael [Regan] is a good candidate in his own right because he’s done the job. There’s others who can come into the mix as well but I just don’t know if they’re all going to be there.

“I would actually pay the Mayor more, because I compare their life to a local MP. For the area they cover, they get around $120k or something. Compare that to three state MPs on at least $200k plus two federals who’re on $200k plus, and you’ve got a million dollars worth of politicians. I think it’s fair the one who has to run up and down the entire length of the Beaches gets paid an appropriate amount of money. I’m not going to badger a Mayor if they get $150k or whatever,” said Mr Sharpe.

Mr Sharpe quickly insisted he was not going to seek the Mayor or Deputy Mayor’s role if he were elected.

“I have absolutely zero aspirations to want to be the Deputy Mayor or Mayor. I can say gospel, no way, even if asked. I’m doing volunteer work and I see the Council as a comfortable addition. I haven’t got the resources or time for more.

“I do Computer Pals at Frenchs Forest once a week and I do Meals On Wheels, which my wife and my family have been involved with for over 20 years. Through another colleague, I help out with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. I have a soft spot for that because when I first left school, my first job was at Centre Industries at Allambie Heights,” said Mr Sharpe.

Mr Sharpe is standing as an Independent candidate with the support of his wife and sister-in-law on a ticket, so they qualify for above-the-line voting as Group B in Frenchs Forest ward.

Voting at pre-poll locations is available 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday – Saturday, from Monday, 22 November until Friday, 03 December. Election Day is Saturday, 04 December. Alternatively, people concerned about COVID are now permitted to apply for a postal vote.

Image: Northern Beaches Advocate

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