‘Iconic view’: Development raises question about definition

Is this iconic?
Is this iconic?

A proposed development on Gura Street in Kiama has raised the question about what defines an “iconic view”.

The proponent, who’s property overlooks Kiama Harbour, has applied to construct alterations and additions to an existing residential dwelling over three levels. 

At a council meeting last week, Councillor Warren Steele requested the term “iconic view” be defined, following a submission from the owner of the neighbouring property.

“The next-door neighbour cannot ask to save a side view, you have a magic view out the front, which they have of the harbour, and the view the applicant is taking away is from the side and it is of the town,” he said.

“Everyone wants to protect their view, but you can’t protect a side view from a next door neighbour, they’ll both get an iconic view of the harbour.

“We throw the term “iconic view” around I think they’ve all got iconic views of the blowhole, but of the harbour and the town I personally don’t see that classed as an iconic view.

“I feel we’ve got to share our views, that is what Kiama is all about and in this case I don’t think views are being shared.”  

Acting director of planning and environment Chris Fuller gave his opinion as to what an “iconic view” was.

“Iconic views are generally looked at as something which are unique. For example the Opera House has been described as an iconic view, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic view,” he said. 

“But it’s horses for courses as far as whether you consider them to be primary, secondary, iconic or irrelevant. The principles with the Land and Environment Court lay out how that should be attested.

“In this circumstance I wouldn’t not call it strictly iconic, it’s certainly a primary view to the coast and the lighthouse, and the lighthouse itself is certainly an important view for people, whether you would classify it as iconic is up for interpretation.”

As defined in the Kiama DCP a primary view is one that features significantly from frequently used living spaces such as lounge rooms, living rooms and family rooms.

Secondary views are defined as representing a lesser order of importance or lower order priority than a primary view, even though they may provide considerable enjoyment to the occupant.  

Councillor Neil Riley said although he felt the view needed to be shared by both properties.

“It may well be as my fellow councillor said a side view, but a side view carries a certain amount of weight when the view is considered to be iconic, and that’s been held up time and time again,” he said.

“What I would like to see is this building go ahead with an architectural amendment that allowed that view to be shared a little bit by all.”

Macquarie Dictionary meaning:

Iconic, adj. 1. pertaining to or of the nature of an icon, portrait, or image. 2.Art. (of statues, portraits, etc.) executed according to a convention of tradition.  

Icon, n.1. a picture, image, or other representation. 2.Eastern Ch. a representation in painting enamel, etc., of some sacred personage, as Christ or a saint or angel, itself venerated as sacred. 3. a sign or representation which stands for its object by virtue of a resemblance or analogy to it.

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