Cr. Luise Elsing


Since 2012 I have been a Councillor on Woollahra Council for the Cooper Ward as part of Residents First Woollahra which is an independent group of Councillors unaffiliated with any major political party.

My role is to listen, respond and stand up for residents.

A crucial concern has been overdevelopment particularly in Double Bay and Bellevue Hill.

In 2016 the Greater Sydney Commission prepared a report which set out numbers for development in areas in Sydney. The number of new dwellings is based on the capacity of the area to accommodate new development. For the Woollahra Municipality for the period 2016 to 2021, a target of 300 additional dwellings was set and recently an additional number of 500 – 600 new dwellings for 2021 to 2026.

Woollahra has already well exceeded these targets.

A total of 854 new dwellings have been approved or constructed between November 2016 and April 2021. This is 554 additional new dwellings over the target of 300 set for period ended November 2021 (with 6 months to go) and exceeds the target set period ended 2026 (with 5 years to go).

These additional dwellings are the reason we are experiencing traffic congestion, difficulty parking, contested public parks and recreation facilities, negative impacts on residential amenity and compromised services (including garbage collection).

My work on Council has included:

    • residential development on public land (Double Bay Carpark),
    • rezoning of recreational land to residential (Double Bay Bowling Club),
    • planning controls which disregard local character, and
    • planning strategies designed to increase residential development in Edgecliff and Double Bay.
    • amendments to planning controls including:
      • increased lot sizes for dual occupancies,
      • removal of State Environmental Planning Policy senior’s development advantages from residential zones, and
      • protection of special character areas,
    • compliance with development controls,
    • community voices in planning decisions and improved consultation with residents,
    • a hydrological and geotechnical study of Double Bay and Bellevue Hill Double Bay catchments to prevent further environmental damage,
    • controls which seek to balance the noise impacts of the night-time economy with the reasonable and quite enjoyment of neighbouring residents,
    • Council to implore the State Government to reduce targets for new development, and
    • amending controls to restrict overdevelopment.

The excessive number of new dwellings has resulted in a population increase with many new families needing access to open spaces and recreational areas and services as well as placing increased stress on roads and footpaths.

    • support to Domestic Violence victims and their families,
    • footpath improvement and maintenance including Edgecliff Road,
    • Cooper Park and Dunara Reserve heritage listing and tightening heritage controls,
    • street beautification initiatives including Queen Street Master Plan,
    • the protection, proper management and funding of the Centennial Park and Moore Park trust lands,
    • the protection of tree canopy and maintenance of trees and pruning,
    • pedestrianisation of suburbs including Double Bay,
    • the installation of facilities to enable children to play sport and exercise including the multi-use netball and basketball courts in Christison Park,
    • increased Library opening times (Paddington Library), and
    • the return of the Crown Land to residents for their use including the Vaucluse Bowling Club and the Paddington Bowling Club site and ensuring that Crown Land in Watson Bay land is not turned over to developers.
  • keep major political party influence out of local government and protect the rights of residents,
  • hold rates and charges to the minimum consistent with the needs of the municipality,
  • preserve Woollahra’s independence by resisting amalgamation, and
  • improve communications between council and residents and resident groups.

The protection of residents’ rights is the heartland of a democratically elected local government.  Since 2017 the State Government has through a series of actions ensured that residents have been removed from decision making on development applications and other planning matters.  Residents’ access to information and consultation is being increasingly minimized and disregarded.   Residents First offer a pathway to reverse this disbarment and strengthen your voice on Council.

I am a local and independent voice on Council, and I want to hear from you about your concerns and what we can do together to make our lives better.