Synagogue DA at 105 Wellington Street, Bondi

MEDIA STATEMENT

There has been a large amount of misinformation and incorrect commentary in relation to a recent decision of the Land & Environment Court regarding a Development Application (DA) for residential units and a synagogue at 105 Wellington Street, Bondi.

FREE (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe) submitted a DA to Waverley Council in 2016 to redevelop a recently rezoned area of land into two residential unit buildings and a synagogue.

Before Waverley Council could determine this application, FREE decided to lodge an appeal in the Land & Environment Court, thereby removing Waverley Council as the consent authority through what's called a deemed refusal period. This meant that any decision on this application would not be made by Waverley Council – it would be by the Court.

The process required Council to identify all issues and these could include matters that the applicant had raised, but failed to properly address. One of these issues was contained in the applicants own report titled: Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis, which was submitted as part of their DA. In this the applicant identified nine separate ‘threats’ that it concluded as likely threats.

The Council and many residents raised the report as an issue that the court should consider on the basis that the applicant themselves had identified these threats. Whilst their application addressed how their own occupants would be protected, it failed to address how others would be.

The Court agreed that the onus to address this was a matter for the applicant and as they had failed to do so, the Court refused the application.

The judgement is available for public viewing at - www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/597fbf62e4b058596cba8e75#

A synagogue is a permitted use on this site and Waverley Council. In recent years, Council has received a number of DAs from synagogues and Jewish schools for improvements and alterations, all of which have been approved without the matters going to court.

Had the applicant addressed the matters properly in their application, it’s reasonably likely the Court would have approved the application.

The applicant has every opportunity to consider the judgement of the Court, and resubmit a new DA for the site. Council will then consider the DA afresh. If they do resubmit a revised DA, it is entirely possible any outstanding matters can be suitably addressed.

Waverley Council whole-heartedly supports people from all ethnic backgrounds and religions and have a particularly close relationship with our Jewish community. Diversity of faith and culture are just some of the many reasons why Waverley is such a special place to live, work and visit.

Frequently asked questions are available here.