Spin Doctors at Play with Novacastrians or Selling the Dream Not Reality

GHD 37 (Small)Being a real estate agent, I’m well aware of the need to be upbeat and positive with everything I’m selling or leasing. People don’t want to believe the choices they make are wrong. So a good agent finds a positive spin in everything.

From the roughest property – “Develop and Prosper”, “Renovate and Reap” – to selling a dream where just a block of land sits, an agent’s spin can create such a dream that you want to believe it can be real. With the use of glossy rendered drawings, 3D fly throughs & beautiful bright happy images, one can create something where nothing exists barring the dream that exists in one’s imagination. Then if you can excite the media (old fashioned newspapers and TV along with social) enough to push and live the dream, it’s as if it exists without it ever existing.

What I want to know – is this what’s happening to Novocastrians right now? We have a developer who filled the minds of people with a dream of a shopping centre, which was at best a marginal gambit when debt flowed freely and money was cheap. Using imagery and public meetings, they created a Bondi Junction imitation.  Not long after, we had a Government and its bureaucracy undertake a very thorough and thought out planning revision; a vision for the city. This plan was developed without any bias towards any site or any developer.

It was developed in consultation with the community. It took into consideration the views of all, with the outcome being the Newcastle LEP 2012.

Fast forward to 2014, the shopping centre has vaporised to nothing & the developer has failed to sell the land privately. That was until a section of the Government bought into their dream. Thus creating a quasi-Public Private Partnership (PPP). Now the marketeers, the doctors of Spin, are back starting us on another journey filled too with dreams and positive images.

Landcom, a name synonymous with developing budget residential land estates has become UrbanGrowth NSW (a beautiful dreamy spin). There is no mention of a PPP, that harsh acronym so lovingly used by the previous Government (but that is what it is) a 2/3 – 1/3 partnership.

UrbanGrowth NSW and GPT have decided that the peoples LEP 2012 wouldn’t provide the scope, density or height for them to achieve a profitable return. So in comes the glossy spin.  Bright new modern buildings painted using 3D drawings, beautiful modern streetscapes filled with happy smiling faces and out goes Newcastle’s balanced development plan. In comes ore spin. Their new plan is now a …. Master Plan.

Don’t get me wrong; I want development, but it must be fair and balanced development – not development that allows a one development consortium (PPP) to ride rough shod over the city and its planning instruments.

Ask yourself… is this fair to others who have already followed the existing planning codes, or those who have acquired sites already, or that the limited market for residential be sucked away from other conforming developments? Then ask yourself would you think differently if this PPP was only painting you another dream to cling to without any intention of developing it themselves? If all of this is the case, then who’s dream is it? Is
it just the dream of some spin doctors to make us believe and hope it exists when in reality the dream only exists so they can cash in by achieving a higher price for their land?

To GPT – if it’s such a worthwhile dream, use some of your $15.2 billion to build it. I’m sure a few of your 39,000 investors will be employed on and live in the development.  To the Premier – Conform to your own planning codes and stop throwing us your crumbs.  Give us our Port money, (all of it) and give the valley it’s rightful cut of coal royalties, finally, back your local blokes, we need their voices in the next government –
March 2015 is looming fast.

By STEVEN DICK
Raine & Horne Commercial Director

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