Council no longer has final say on St John’s

Picture: Chris Lane
Picture: Chris Lane

Camden councillors will no longer have the final say on any and all developments proposed by St John’s Anglican Church.

In June council unanimously decided to forbid any private certifiers from approving plans.

Independent councillor Eva Campbell raised the motion to ensure the council and the Camden community were kept in the loop with all movement at the historically significant site. 

The motion was sparked after church officials announced their intention to investigate the possibility of selling off land at the historic precinct.

Lengthy and heated debate arose at Tuesday’s council meeting during discussion about a $3800 development application for a retaining wall at the church.

Councillor Peter Sidgreaves moved that Cr Campbell’s adopted motion be removed.

“It’s my view that applications like this tie up council resources,” he said.

“It’s unnecessary that this has come to come to council – major developments will always come to council.”

Cr Paul Farrow said removing the conditions on the church was “saying to the community that we don’t care”.

“It’s not a major inconvenience,” he said.

Cr Campbell said she raised the original motion to ensure discussions about the church happened in the public arena so everyone knew about them.

Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak also read an email from Reverend Tony Galea at the meeting.

“He wrote … ‘Why is Camden Council discriminating against St Johns Church? No other church in the area has to do this,’” she said.

“Saying we don’t care is misleading, we do care but we can’t discriminate.”

The majority of councillors voted to rescind Cr Campbell’s original motion.