Thursday, June 08, 2023

Dirty Harry Talking: ‘Who are they to stop me?’ Triguboff slams council over Zetland housing stoush


Philip Thalis
Well well.. why would Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe meet with infamous property developer Triguboff 6 times??? More than with the Federal Treasurer… Can anyone just book a meeting with him? Or just those with a blatant self-interest? Asking for several million Australians…

Outside RCC boundaries but so massive it will overshadow Randwick Where are his amenities for all these people ⁦⁩ ? Where are the affordable homes, sports fields, schools, hospital, doctors, parks?? Triguboff is unhinged looking like Les Patterson …

Celebrity spotting! Harry Triguboff just walked into hosp. imaging reception. Crumpled old suit, shirt frayed at the collar and scuffed dirty loafers. Smarten up

By Michael Koziol

A furious Harry Triguboff has unloaded on Randwick City Council for opposing his development of 800 new homes in high-density Zetland – which is outside the council’s boundaries – ahead of a contentious public meeting on Thursday.

The billionaire Meriton founder said it was outrageous for a council to oppose development in a different local government area – in this case the City of Sydney – especially when it had a poor record of housing delivery itself.

Harry Triguboff has attacked Randwick City Council for opposing his development in Zetland.

Harry Triguboff has attacked Randwick City Council for opposing his development in Zetland.CREDIT: JANIE BARRETT

“Randwick has only got 80 units built in 12 months. I’ve built 2000 units in 12 months,” he told the Herald. “Who are they to stop me when they don’t do anything themselves?”

Triguboff, who turned 90 earlier this year, blamed local politicians more than not-in-my-backyard neighbours for organised opposition to housing developments. “There are no bloody residents, it’s the politicians trying to be smart,” he said.

Neighbourhood groups, councillors and MPs including Local Government Minister Ron Hoenig will meet on Thursday night to oppose Meriton’s plan to build 814 dwellings at the site of the former Holden Suttons car dealership in Zetland, next to Southern Cross Drive.

Meriton owns the site and the development is already approved, but along with the City of Sydney it wants to change the configuration to create one 25-storey tower, while reducing the height of other buildings. The City says this will enable more public space and diversity of housing types. It will not add extra units or floor space.

A sketch of the proposed Meriton development in Zetland and a map showing its location next to Southern Cross Drive.

A sketch of the proposed Meriton development in Zetland and a map showing its location next to Southern Cross Drive.CREDIT: CITY OF SYDNEY PLANNING PROPOSAL, GOOGLE MAPS

But opponents argue the development will worsen traffic and parking in the area, while the taller tower would be “clearly visible” from the West Kensington heritage conservation area on the other side of the freeway.

“I’m so sorry they don’t want to look at the big tower,” Triguboff said sarcastically. “So people have to go without houses so he can’t look at a tower which is half a mile away from him?”

Premier Chris Minns has insisted Sydney needs to “go up” and build higher density to address the city’s housing supply shortage and affordability crisis. This was particularly the case in the better-connected parts of Sydney, he said.

Triguboff said this was guaranteed to happen, “not because of Mr Minns but because the world is going that way”.

“To be fair to Minns he understands that we have to have apartments,” he said. “Unfortunately, both sides of our political spectrum always thought that if they attack apartments, they will get votes. So they always made it, and are still making it, very difficult to build. I must admit that lately they are not so much against apartments. They’ve seen the light.”

Triguboff and Randwick City Council have been locked in a fierce battle for years over Meriton’s proposal to build 1900 apartments at Little Bay, which already has an approved plan for 450.

While government statistics show 81 dwellings were completed in the City of Randwick in the 12 months to September 2022, in total the council approved 2700 dwellings between 2016 and 2021.

It anticipates approving about 4250 dwellings in the five years from 2021 to 2026 under existing planning controls.

“Completion statistics reflect the decisions of developers and builders according to market conditions, not council approval decisions,” a council spokesperson said.

“In recent years, the slowing down of development activity is due to rising interest rates and inflation – dampening borrowing rates – and shortage of building material and labour.”