Dee Why RSL Proposes 10-Storey Retirement Village Amidst Local Opposition

Dee Why RSL has submitted a planning proposal to the Northern Beaches Council, seeking a change in planning rules to construct a 10-storey retirement village to cater to the increasing demand for senior living spaces.

The development aims to address the critical need for units by downsizing seniors on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The club’s ambitious plan involves the demolition of an existing three-storey block and a former late-night pharmacy to make way for the expansive Oceangrove retirement village extension. 

Situated on the strategic corner of Pittwater Rd and Dee Why Pde, the proposed site currently exceeds the required height limits, prompting the request to elevate the permissible building height from 12 metres to 32 metres.

Dee Why RSL
Photo Credit: PEX2024/0002
Dee Why RSL
Photo Credit: PEX2024/0002

Despite the project’s potential to significantly alleviate the housing shortage for seniors, the proposal has yet to be warmly received by all community members. 

Over 30 public submissions opposing the project have been filed via PEX2024/0002. They cite concerns over increased traffic congestion, loss of views for neighbouring properties, and the encroachment on the Dee Why Kindergarten childcare centre, which is partially located on the proposed development site.

“We object to the approval of this proposal as the height of the new building is nearly 3 x the existing allowance and contrary to the WLEP and is of excessive height,” Ms Inger Ohlsson wrote. 

“The proposal is for 51 new units and will increase the density and increase traffic and noise pollution that are already terrible on the streets of Dee Why (Richmond Ave, Dee Why Pde, Avon Rd, Clarence Ave etc.) and Pittwater Road. 

“The proposal will set a precedent (overdevelopment), and we believe that additional senior housing can be achieved without changing the current WLEP.”

“The decision to live in a beach location was influenced by the desire for unobstructed views of the ocean and surrounding natural beauty. The construction of tall buildings would not only block these views but also detract from the unique character and charm that drew me to this area in the first place,” Ms Alison Cavill wrote.

“High-rise developments typically bring in more residents, leading to increased population density. This can put pressure on local infrastructure such as roads, schools, and utilities,” Mrs Marcela Spence stated.

“More residents mean greater demand for public services like garbage collection, emergency services, and recreational facilities. These services may need to be expanded to accommodate the increased population.”

Dee Why RSL
Photo Credit: PEX2024/0002

Despite the controversy, Dee Why RSL remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing senior living options in the area. The club’s planning consultants have emphasised the significant waiting list for the Oceangrove residence, indicating a pressing need for such a development. 

The proposal is about expanding housing options and creating an age-friendly environment that promotes inclusivity and access to essential services.

The Northern Beaches Council is currently reviewing the Planning Proposal.

Published 2-April-2024

Dee Why: A Coastal Black Spot on the Northern Beaches

Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) has raised concerns about the Northern Beaches, especially Dee Why, as it highlights the suburb as a “coastal black spot” for the second consecutive year. 

With six out of 48 drowning deaths in NSW happening on the Northern Beaches in the past year, SLSNSW Sydney Northern Beaches CEO Tracey Hare-Boyd emphasised the importance of swimming between flags at patrolled beaches during patrol hours. 

“It is not a statistic that we are greatly proud of,” Ms Hare-Boyd stated, acknowledging various factors such as medical and mental health conditions contributing to these incidents.

Extended Patrol Hours and Dye Demonstrations

In response to the alarming statistics, Dee Why will extend patrol hours until 7:00 p.m. this summer, as many rescues occur after standard closing times. 

Additionally, Clinton Rose, Northern Beaches Council Beach Services Coordinator, used environmentally friendly dye to show the rapid movement of rips from the shore. This demonstration underlines the new advice for those caught in rips: conserve energy, go with the flow, and signal for help.

Awareness Campaign by Northern Beaches Council

Mayor Sue Heins of the Northern Beaches Council announced a new campaign to raise beach safety awareness. This initiative will include informative videos, signage at high-risk areas, and practical tips for beachgoers. 

“As we embrace the extreme weather, we are concerned our beaches will be extremely busy with locals and visitors seeking relief from the heat. More people on beaches could mean more rescues and drownings,” Ms Heins said.

“Last year, over 10.8 million people visited our beaches, with 1,427 rescues and 4,300 first aid cases requiring attention. Sadly, six people lost their lives in the Sydney Northern Beaches Surf Life Saving Branch area over the last year.

“We’re doing our bit to arm beachgoers with tips to stay safe this beach season with a new ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign. Please do your bit by taking beach safety seriously and spreading the word with your visiting friends and relatives.”

Dee Why
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Lifeguard Efforts and Visitor Statistics

Northern Beaches Council professional lifeguards, alongside volunteers from 21 Surf Life Saving Clubs, work tirelessly to ensure beach safety. A significant number of preventative actions (425k) were also taken to guide swimmers and boardriders to safer areas. Notably, no deaths were reported on patrolled beaches within the flagged areas during patrol hours.

With a heatwave warning issued, a surge in beachgoers is expected. In anticipation, safety measures and vigilance are being heightened to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. The community is encouraged to stay informed and prepared, especially during these peak times.

Published 13-Dec-2023

New Women’s Shelter in Pittwater Receives Capital Funding

A new women’s shelter in Pittwater is set to provide a vital sanctuary for victims of domestic violence, thanks to a $6 million capital funding grant.

The official announcement of this much-needed support was made by NSW Minister for Women, Seniors, Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison, on 27 July at Winnererremy Bay, Mona Vale. She identified Pittwater as the chosen location of the new premises.

Minister Harrison underscored the importance of providing comprehensive assistance to victims of domestic violence, stating, “Domestic and family violence, in fact, violence of any sort has no place in our society at all, and we should not ever put up with it. Sadly, in the last 12 months, we’ve seen 34,000 incidents of domestic and family violence assaults reported to NSW Police.

“We know that those figures are definitely under-reported. We know that victims of family and domestic violence are frequently not likely to report to police for various reasons. As a community, we need to do everything we possibly can to put a stop to it.

“Part of supporting victim-survivors is to ensure that they have somewhere to go when they are leaving a violent relationship. A safe place for them to go and to be supported is incredibly important.”

This $6m initiative forms part of the program “Core and Cluster” of the NSW government. More than just providing a safe place to stay, the women’s shelter initiative focuses on independent living, reclaiming dignity, and on-site services for those in need.

The initiative has garnered strong community support, particularly from the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter, led by Chair Rosy Sullivan and Manager Narelle Hand. The Chair expressed gratitude for the funding, highlighting the desperate need to expand refuge services in the area.

For over a decade, the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter has been providing assistance to women without custodial care of their children. This expansion, Ms Sullivan said, presents a unique opportunity to address the needs of women and children in the region.

“13 years of fund-raising, philanthropic foundations that have been with us all the way through this journey since opening our doors in November 2010. That a property can be identified, and purchased, and then moved into this Core and Cluster program, is going to take it to a whole new level of possibility. We will hopefully address some of the needs that we have, in terms of not having to turn so many women away on a monthly basis.

“We’ve had the architects, the designers, the fire and safety people who have been working with the property pro-bono, in terms of getting this property ready to then take on the next stage, to be able to offer the Core and Cluster model through this fabulous new property.

“Generosity of spirit can go so far in terms of making this a really valuable project, and a project that will benefit the women who are in such dire need of somewhere to heal, somewhere to be safe, somewhere where they can regroup their own minds, their own family, their own being in terms of returning to be a valuable, respected, and happy member of whatever community they choose to be a part of,” said Ms Sullivan.

Construction of one of the two women’s shelters to be delivered under the program has already begun in the Pittwater site, with completion expected by December 2023. 

Published 17-August-2023

Historic Salvation Army Home in Dee Why Transforms into Luxury Wellness Spa

Dee Why is witnessing a transformation as the historic 130-year-old Pacific Lodge, a former Salvation Army hostel, is set to become the centrepiece of the new Hamptons development. 

The heritage-listed Pacific Lodge building on Fisher Rd, which dates back to 1892, will be integrated into the modern apartment complex, retaining its timeless elegance whilst catering to the changing needs of the community.

Hamptons, developed by the renowned Rose Group, promises an exquisite collection of one and two-bedroom apartments, with a limited release of rare three-bedroom apartments and finely-crafted penthouses. The development – CC2023/0372 will be situated on the scenic Fisher Road, offering captivating views of Dee Why Library, Council Chambers, the town centre, and the vast Pacific Ocean. 

According to Paul Ferrari, Head of Projects for Upstate Realty, the Pacific Lodge will play a pivotal role in the development’s design and landscaping. Working with heritage consultants, they aim to bring back the building to its former grandeur, preserving its rendered masonry, corrugated iron-hipped roof, tall chimneys, and veranda adorned with cast iron balustrades and columns.

Ferrari revealed that Rose Group had sought a particular tenant to complement the development and provide minimal disruption to the residents. As a result, the Pacific Lodge will be converted into a high-class wellness facility, featuring spa and beauty services. The building, being part of the strata, will have a single tenant, ensuring the preservation of its historic charm.

Dee Why Hamptons

The Pacific Lodge holds immense historical significance, originally built as a Salvation Army Home of Rest for officers in need of recuperation. Over the years, it transformed into a centre for the treatment of ‘inebriates’ and later served as the Pacific Lodge Aged Men’s Home. The Salvation Army eventually sold the property in 2016 for $25 million and moved its residents to new facilities in Collaroy. 

Recognising the importance of this heritage-listed building, public access to the Pacific Lodge will be maintained, allowing visitors to experience the wellness spa services. The site’s public footpath, the Dee Why Heritage Walk which is a part of the heritage listing, will also remain accessible from Fisher Road. 

Hamptons and the refurbished Pacific Lodge are scheduled for completion in early 2025, offering a seamless blend of contemporary living and historical elegance.

Published 21-July-2023

Concerns Over Pittwater and Warringah Intersection Safety Spark Calls for Action

Locals remain hopeful that the Pittwater and Warringah intersection in Dee Why would finally receive a much-needed fix, after numerous submissions raising safety concerns.

Read: New 9-storey Boarding House With No Car Parking Spaces to Rise on Pittwater Road

The notorious Dee Why intersection has become a hotbed of accidents and near misses for years. Back in 2014, a truck lost control and crashed into eight other vehicles. Then in 2015, in the same spot, another truck rolled and threw traffic into chaos.

Photo credit: Google Street View

The importance of keeping the upgrade of the Officeworks intersection, where Warringah Roads meets Pittwater Rd, on the Infrastructure Priority List was recently raised in Parliament, together with a call for all levels of government to collaborate to get it done.

A solution similar to the roadworks recently completed outside Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forest has been suggested, involving the construction of a cutting or tunnel that would enable vehicles to smoothly transition from Pittwater Rd to Warringah Rd, eliminating the need to stop at traffic lights.

Photo credit: Google Street View

Former Mayor of the Northern Beaches Michael Regan, now the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wakehurst, highlighted the importance of prioritising the intersection’s upgrade during a recent session in parliament.

He highlighted the pressing need to address road congestion in the northern beaches and reminded the state and federal governments not to disregard the intersection’s upgrade. He stressed that the intersection is part of one of the top five busiest roads in the country, extending beyond just the city limits.

Read: New Council Proposal Calls for Single Lane Road Along Seafront

Transport for NSW responded to the proposal by stating that there are currently no plans to upgrade the intersection of Warringah and Pittwater roads. However, the agency assured the public that they regularly conduct corridor planning reviews and studies for state-classified roads to identify opportunities for enhancing network efficiency, safety, and connectivity.

Published 20-June-2023

St. Luke’s Grammar School Gets the Green Light for $35M Expansion Project in Dee Why

The expansion plans of St Luke’s Grammar School, which involves building a new campus with a sports centre in Dee Why and North Curl Curl, have been approved.

The $35-million project, greenlighted on 19 April 2023 by Council, will add an additional 600 students to the new senior campus. The existing commercial site at 224 Headland Rd, North Curl Curl, and the heritage-listed site at 800 Pittwater Rd, Dee Why, will be repurposed for the project. 

The Dee Why location, currently occupied by commercial facilities like Fitness First, Officeworks and I-MED Radiology Network, will be converted into a senior school campus for Years 10 to 12, complete with a 300-seat assembly theatre, a 220-seat performing arts theatre, a 25-metre indoor swimming pool, a wellness precinct, a library, and student learning spaces. 

Its heritage elements as a former Top Dog manufacturing hall and Bonds factory will be retained, such as the curved canteen design and the exterior clock tower. 

St Luke's Grammar School
Photo Credit: Commercial Real Estate 

On the other hand, the North Curl Curl site will be transformed into a multipurpose indoor sports centre with two full-size and one half-size basketball courts, a dance and exercise space. The plans include a connection to the St Luke’s Grammar School Dee Why campus. 

St Luke's Grammar School
Photo Credit: SSD-10291/NSW Planning Portal

The development is expected to create 209 jobs and result in a capital investment value of $76,394,429. The project will be completed in three stages, with the first stage due to be completed in 2023, while the entire sports centre and senior campus are expected to be operational in late 2030/early 2031.

Northern Beaches Council and Transport for NSW are also preparing a transport management plan for this development to address concerns over the area’s traffic conditions. 

Published 27-April-2023

Discover the History Behind Dee Why’s ‘Pacific Lodge’

The historic ‘Pacific Lodge’ on Fisher Road was built as a Home of Rest for the Salvation Army officers and was entered into the heritage list for its association with Elizabeth Jenkins, whose family once owned all of the foreshore lands from Mona Vale to Dee Why.

The Salvation Army Home of Rest, later known as Pacific Lodge, was originally built in 1892 for officers in need of a place to recuperate and later turned into an aged care centre. The historic building, which has turned 130 years old, traces its roots to the Jenkins family who at the time was the largest landholder on the northern beaches.

James Jenkins: From convict to the largest landholder  

Brothers James and William Jenkins arrived in Sydney in 1802 aboard the Coromandel. They were convicts serving the remaining two years of their seven-year sentence for allegedly stealing sheep when they transferred to the colony.

It didn’t take long and James was able to acquire land and was farming at Ryde before joining his brother in farming another land. They later traded farming for boat building at Darling Harbour.

Seven years after the death of his brother, James, who was already married at the time, was granted 20 hectares of land at Roseville and returned to farming. Their land holding expanded with 81 hectares of land from North Narrabeen to Mona Vale which were bequeathed to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth.

Soon after, James will acquire further blocks of land that by 1825 the family already owns all of the foreshore lands between the present-day Mona Vale Hospital to Pacific Parade at the southern part of Dee Why Beach.

Elizabeth Jenkins and her ties with the Salvation Army

Following James Jenkins’ death in 1835, Elizabeth took over the decision-making duties concerning the family’s landholdings.

In 1885, Elizabeth Jenkins, who was an ardent supporter of the Salvation Army and its work, donated the organisation about 12 hectares of land located at Pipeclay Point, Narrabeen Lagoon and an additional 17 hectares at Dee Why between 1890 and 1892.

The organisation decided to build a retreat house for officers to rest and recuperate, which Elizabeth supported by donating £400 to help with the construction of the Salvation Army Home of Rest. 

“Substantial elevated single storey building of rendered masonry. Corrugated iron hipped roof with tall rendered chimneys. Verandah on 3 sides with cast iron balustrade, columns & valence. Balustrade panels specially made with the letters “SAHR”. Sympathetic refurbishment works have been undertaken. Restored verandah includes original cast iron balustrade panels. Adapted for use as administration offices for “Pacific Lodge” – State Heritage Inventory – Environment NSW citation reads.

An industrial farm was later built near the Home of Rest in the mid-1890s but was closed several years later and the land where the facility once stood was sold.

After Elizabeth died in 1900, all her property was transferred to the Salvation Army, further expanding the organisation’s landholdings. The Salvation Army then established a two-storey facility for the treatment of ‘inebriates’ which operated until 1939 when Salvos built the Pacific Lodge Mens Eventide Home.

The Salvation Army sold the 1.6-ha property in 2016 to Rose Property and built a new 50-bed facility for its elderly residents in Collaroy.

In 2019, a proposal to build three buildings of up to seven storeys high at the site was given the green light. The 130-year-old building will be retained for adaptive reuse, subject to a future development application.

Dee Why Tent City Feared Back Again Shortly After Teardown

Photo Credit: Rawpixel/Public Domain

Dee Why’s tent city, the controversial homeless hub near the Dee Why Lagoon, is feared to be re-emerging only a few weeks after teardown.

Reports cite that paramedics were by the lagoon at 6:40 a.m. on Thursday, the 27th of October, to attend to a woman who had to be rushed to the Northern Beaches Hospital for a suspected drug overdose. 

The emergency situation came a few weeks after Northern Beaches Council cleared the infamous tent city following a violent incident that led to a fire at the makeshift campsite. 

A spokesperson for the NSW police said that a fight also recently took place among the homeless camped there. One man carrying a machete and gas lighter was chasing after another person. 

The police arrested a 35-year-old man because of this incident. The authorities were forced to pepper spray him because he allegedly hit a police officer in the head. He was booked at the Manly Police Station whilst another man was also charged with assault and police intimidation. 

According to locals, Dee Why’s tent city has been around for roughly two years or shortly after the lockdowns due to the pandemic. Not too many people are aware of the homeless campsite since its dwellers are “mostly unseen” and do not usually bother the residents. 

However, there have been some reported incidents of robberies and threats involving rough sleepers and beachgoers. Other locals are also concerned about the damage these campsites may cause around the lagoon’s ecosystem.  

Council officers and the police frequently check the site but many of the homeless have refused help to relocate as well.

Northern Beaches Council CEO Ray Brownlee said that “relevant homeless support agencies” are helping the people of the tent city. He also acknowledged that this is a complex issue, requiring a careful and compassionate approach. 

Club Active Opens in Dee Why, Helps the Over-50s Stay Active and Fit

Club Active, Australia’s only gym designed to welcome boomers, grandparents, and retirees, has opened in Dee Why. Programs tailored to age, fitness level, and individual pace. Medical-grade equipment. University-trained physiologists. Monthly workshops. Opportunities for socialisation. The list goes on!

Founded by exercise physiologist Jonathan Freeman, Club Active Dee Why is the eighth location. The first Club Active outlet opened in Tweed. The Dee Why facility, like all the other locations, prides itself in creating a fun environment, where seniors may also forge new friendships aside from achieving physical fitness among the variety of classes offered for the members.

​​”In Australia, 1 in 2 older Australians report feeling lonely at least once a week. It’s well known that being active, especially in a group environment, is a great way to improve mood and mental health,” according to Club Active.

“Movement brings people together!”  

Club Active
Photo Credit: Supplied

Club Active offers a safe and supportive environment tailor-fit for the needs of the older generation, to help them prioritise their fitness or exercise at their own pace and capacity. 

Members of the new gym may take advantage of the medical-grade gym equipment and consult with university-trained exercise physiologists on fitness areas where they could gain the most benefit.  

Club Active
Photo Credit: Supplieda

“We work closely with GPs and other medical professionals to develop chronic disease management plans and exercise prescriptions tailored to individual needs, many of which are covered by health rebates,” Mr Freeman said. 

There are even free monthly workshops to educate the community about chronic conditions and exercise and a variety of fundraising events. 

“The goal is for Club Active to become the world’s largest active over 50s community,” Mr Freeman added. “We’ll do this by improving people’s physical, mental and social well-being, by offering a welcoming, supportive and fun environment where people can exercise safely and at their own pace while connecting with a community of like-minded individuals.

Follow Club Active on Facebook for more updates. 

New 9-storey Boarding House With No Car Parking Spaces to Rise on Pittwater Road

Did you know that a nine-storey boarding house development would soon rise on Pittwater Road? The approved plans include a retail shop and three commercial tenancies but no car parking space will be provided on-site.

Approved in early June 2022, the planned $4.3-million mixed development is located at 882A Pittwater Rd, Dee Why. The nine-storey building will contain 19 boarding rooms (including three accessible rooms), a cafe, three commercial suites (one each on the ground, first and second floor), a communal living room and a manager’s room/ office. The development will not provide any car parking spaces.  

Photo Credit: Northern Beaches Council /

Photo Credit: Northern Beaches Council /

The development application, however, attracted 29 submissions during its public exhibition with several concerns raised including the lack of car parking. According to the assessment report, the proposed site has been “isolated” by all the developments around it, making the project difficult to develop in a conventional way, such as providing basement car parking.

It did note, however, that the proposed “car-free” development includes a provision of cycling parking and “excellent public transport connectivity.”  

Artist’s impression of the proposed building (in yellow)
Artist’s impression of the proposed (yellow) boarding house building | Photo Credit: Northern Beaches Council /

On concerns regarding the loss of view and intrusion of privacy, the report said that  “assessment has found the proposal to have an acceptable impact, considering the context which is that of a dense town centre environment, subject to conditions to address amenity issues,” and thus does not warrant the refusal of the application.

The assessment report added that the use of the proposed building as a boarding house is allowed under the WLEP 2011 and that “it would be ultra vires for Council” to refuse the application based on the land use alone.