POLL: Uni's Gleniffer Brae plan still has chance

Wollongong City Council's plans to go back to the drawing board on Gleniffer Brae could be overturned in the new year.

On Monday night, councillors voted 6-5 not to proceed with a planning proposal that would accommodate the University of Wollongong's vision for the site, which includes operating Gleniffer Brae as a function centre and building a new creative arts centre.

However, Councillor Michelle Blicavs said it was "highly likely" a rescission motion would be lodged in coming days, with four other councillors telling her they were willing to sign.

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The expected return of Cr John Dorahy would impact on the voting pattern, should the issue be revisited.

Cr Dorahy was absent from the meeting as he was recovering from surgery.

Cr Blicavs said a rescission motion would allow for renewed debate on Gleniffer Brae to ensure the council could find a way forward for the community asset.

"I would like to see us moving ahead with the SCEGGS component," Cr Blicavs said.

"The real issues are around the manor house ... and I don't think it is the council's place to tell the university where to set up shop.

"I don't feel there is a hurry to make a final decision, but I feel we are far enough ahead not to go back to the drawing board ... I don't want to waste the effort that has been put in."

Speaking from hospital yesterday, Cr Dorahy said the council needed to consider what the major opportunities were, not just for Gleniffer Brae but for the city as a whole.

"At this stage we haven't quite got the formula 100 per cent right," Cr Dorahy said.

He said that having time over the Christmas break would give councillors an opportunity to find ways to reach a compromise.

With Cr George Takacs unable to vote on the matter because of a pecuniary interest, it raises the possibility that a casting vote from Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery may be required.

"We'll have to wait and see how the ducks line up," Cr Bradbery said.

"There may be another way of solving the impasse."

Cr Bradbery said he was deeply concerned about the implications of Monday night's vote.

"My main concern is for the future of the conservatorium," he said.

Cr Takacs said while he was unable to vote on the matter, his preference was for the creative arts centre to be located closer to the city centre.

"I do have two conflicts - one is being employed by the university, but also my mother-in-law lives across the road from Gleniffer Brae," Cr Takacs said.

"It is a difficult decision for me to make. I live in the Keiraville community and I know how people feel about the proposal ... but the Local Government Act is clear."

Cr David Brown said he was not "a huge fan" of rescission motions but said in this case it would be legitimate to test the numbers with the full council.

Cr Brown said he was surprised Cr Jill Merrin's motion not to proceed with the rezoning was successful on Monday night.

"I think people were voting against the staff recommendation for various reasons," he said.

Gleniffer Brae Community Support Group convener Bess Moylan said her group was glad the council had recognised the process so far had been flawed.

Ms Moylan said her group was not anti-development but wanted to get the message across that the extensive consultation had been on technical planning matters, while there had been no consultation about the broader strategic planning process.

Her group was still open to compromise, she said.

A computer-generated architect's image of the UOW arts centre (at left) that was proposed for Gleniffer Brae.

A computer-generated architect's image of the UOW arts centre (at left) that was proposed for Gleniffer Brae.

"The community needs to keep track of what is happening and be prepared to go to the next council meeting and hear what the councillors have to say," Ms Moylan said.


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