Pathways Northwood Aged Care Development on Notice After Multiple DA Breaches

Pathways Property Group (“Pathways”) is building a residential aged care facility at 274 and 274a Longueville Road and 4-18 Northwood Road, Lane Cove

The proposed development will include:

  • 130-bed residential aged care facility
  • Allied Health and community well-being services and neighbourhood shops
  • A Senior Day Care Centre for Local Residents.

You can learn more about the development on the Pathways Longueville website.

Before demolition, there were six buildings (including the Metro Service Station, aka Speedway Petrol Station and the Riverview Vet) located on the site. The site is located at the notorious Longueville Road/Kenneth Street and River Road West intersection.

Numerous Complaints

Demolition started on the site in November 2022. Since that time, ITC has been copied in on complaints to Lane Cove Council from neighbours and residents about the site. Complaints have ranged from no traffic control, trucks doing illegal U-turns, trucks parking on River Road waiting to access the site, weak hoardings, gates left wide open, trucks leaving dirt and sediment on the road, fuel odours and noise complaints.

ITC asked Lane Cove Council if any penalty infringement notices had been issued.

On 15 February 2022, a Lane Cove Council spokesperson advised the following:

“A total of 6 Penalty Infringement Notices have been issued for this construction site. Primarily for breaches of the Traffic Management Plan and Hours of Construction.

The infringements are $6,000 each.

It should be noted that the site is under the supervision of a Private Certifier. The nominated Private Certifier is Philip Chun Access Pty Ltd, who is responsible for mandatory inspections and overseeing the implementation of the requirements of the site.

With that being said, Council officers have been responding to concerns raised by the community and liaising with the certifier and/or construction company to seek positive outcomes and future improvements. It is part of the Rangers daily monitoring. It is common for at least one staff person to pass by and visit the site Monday to Friday (noting that it is the Principal Certifier’s role to complete compliance-related inspections). An area where Council and the Certifier worked together was on the improvement of the fencing which is now much sturdier than the original site fencing.

Staff have also followed up to establish street sweeping timeframes in addition to the requirement for sweeping any residue left on the road following the trucks moving through the shaker before leaving site.”

Fencing at the Site before Lane Cove Council Stepped in and asked for new fencing to be installed
Photo Taken 5 November 2021 – No traffic control for vehicles approaching from Greenwich
29 November 2021 – No Traffic Control Observed

Lane Cove Council also advised:

“The demolition TMP does not allow for queuing of vehicles on local roads. This is monitored regularly by Council’s Rangers.”

Photo Taken 10 March 2022
Photo Taken 15 March 2022
Trucks holding up traffic on River Road. One truck stopped in Bus Zone.

Construction Site Gates Regularly Left Open and Unattended

One particular area of concern is the construction site gates are frequently left open and unattended. The site is located near a bus stop used by schoolchildren. It is also located not far from three primary schools, and children regularly walk past the site. During the January School Holidays, the gates were open frequently.

A spokesperson for the Lane Cove Council told ITC:

“There isn’t a requirement for the gates to be closed during the workday. If there is a vehicle entering/exiting, then they must have traffic control in place to maintain pedestrian safety.”

ITC undertook further investigation as it did not seem safe for a construction site with large machinery to be easily accessed. Most construction sites have a strict no unauthorized access rule.

Section 298 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 outlines the requirements for the security of a workplace where construction work is taking place.

The regulations require a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to assess the risks associated with unauthorized access in order to identify an appropriate level of security.

In assessing the risk, PCBUs must have regard to:

  • the risks to health and safety arising from unauthorized access to the workplace
  • the likelihood of unauthorized access occurring (for example, the proximity of the workplace to places frequented by children, including schools, parks and shopping precincts)
  • the extent that unauthorized access to the workplace cannot be prevented –how to isolate hazards within the workplace.

SafeWork NSW was informed that the gates were regularly left open without a person checking who was accessing the site.

SafeWork NSW investigated and sent a letter to the Contractor reminding them of their obligations. The Contractor was given the opportunity to review and address the matter within the workplace and was advised SafeWork NSW may visit the workplace in the future to follow up on how they have addressed the issue.

Our cover photo was taken on 14 February 2022, and below are other photos taken between November 2021 and February 2022 showing that the site gates being left open.

Photo Taken 29 November 2021
Photo Taken 30 December 2021

 

Photo Taken 15 February 2022
Photos Taken 20 February 2022

We understand that SafeWork NSW also visited the site after a contractor was working on-site was wearing thongs.

Since SafeWork NSW visited the site, ITC has not received any complaints about leaving the gates.

In addition to Lane Cove Council and SafeWork NSW, the EPA visited the site after receiving odour complaints.

Lane Cove Council advised on 15 February 2022

“Council and the EPA investigated this matter approximately two weeks ago and were satisfied that the odour was related to the heavy excavation of the hydrocarbon rock. There was no threat to safety, flammability or prolonged exposure; the EPA also inspected the site and were satisfied. This type of work has now been completed.”

Pathways Response

ITC asked Pathways to comment on the issues raised by residents. On 16 February 2022, Pathways released the following statement.

“1. Safety Concerns and Site Condition

Pathways Residences (Pathways) takes the issues that have been raised by the community very seriously. We constantly review and modify site processes with our Contractor to address community concerns. Above all, we apologize to the Longueville community for any inconvenience experienced.

We are working closely with our Contractor, who has possession of the site, to refine site processes. Pathways monitor the site condition daily (Monday to Friday). A representative from Pathways visits the site at least once a day to check progress and ensure the site is adequately maintained.

Regarding your concerns about site security, we advise that the site vehicle access was being relocated yesterday due to construction requirements. Under normal circumstances when truck movements are occurring there are 3 traffic controllers, 1 on the opposite side of the road positioned to stop traffic in a northbound direction, 1 on the gate to control the entry and exit of the truck and 1 to the north of the gate to attend to pedestrian safety and to control the traffic travelling in a southerly direction. We are in the process of building the shoring wall on the boundary which necessitates moving the access to the site from time to time as this process is completed. A permanent fence with and entry and exit gate will commence instalment next week as per program.

Please be assured that when workers are not on the site, the gate is closed, and the site is secured.

  1. Silt and Soil Debris

We have a dual shaker grid at the entry/exit gate currently which is repositioned as and when the gate position moves, during this stage additionally every day which truck movements occur there is a contracted road sweeper which travels north and south cleaning the road between 12:00 and 5:00. There is also labour allocated to clean the footpath as required and to reinstate and clean gutter sediment controls at the end of each working day

We want to assure residents that we are monitoring site conditions and appreciate the patience and support the Longueville community provides our organization as we take this project forward.

Please do not hesitate to contact Pathways Residences if you seek further advice.

Questions should be directed to Graeme Skerritt, Managing Director, Pathway Residences at [email protected]

Does Lane Cove Council have Sufficient Staff and Resources to Deal with DA Breaches?

This raises issues about the Private Certification system given that the Lane Cove Council had to intervene, and numerous infringement notices had to be issued. ITC contacted the private certifier on two occasions and asked for a comment, the private certifier has not responded.

Until SafeWork visited the site, there was not a 24-hour contact number and the private certifier only had an office number to call during office hours.

Lane Cove North residents have been living with poor traffic control on numerous sites for many years, with large trucks idling on major roads waiting for their turn to be called to sites.

The next area of Lane Cove to be developed is St Leonards South Precinct (previously known as Greenwich East). These developments will impact residents living or travelling along River Road and the Pacific Highway.

The precinct is approximately 7 hectares and is located south of St Leonards train. The proposed development will replace existing low-density housing with around 2,000 new apartments and increase the population by about 3,600 residents. The development is between the Pacific Highway and River Road. A total of 23 multi-story apartment blocks will be constructed.

At the last Lane Cove Council meeting, Lane Cove Council General Manager, Craig Wrightson, stated the council has no control over the timing of the developments.

The question is: Does Lane Cove Council have sufficient resources to ensure compliance with development applications conditions when a private certifier refuses to act or refers a matter to them?

At the last Lane Cove Council election, ITC asked candidates to look at the resourcing of the Lane Cove Council DA compliance team to ensure residents are not subjected to traffic and noise issues on a regular basis.

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