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18-year-old Kal Glanznig against the World

When Kal Glanznig isn’t playing water polo or studying, he “looks for opportunities where one person like me can make a difference”, states Kal. Last year In his final months as a year 12 student at Caringbah High School, Kal decided to make the educational environment he spent the last six years in energy efficient.

After contacting the Department of Education followed by a “lengthy process”, as Kal describes, the 18-year-old accumulated $100,000 for solar panels in his school.

His aim was “to make our school entirely sustaining for day time electricity”, says Kal.

Glanznig’s urge to make a difference was inspired by the beginning of his high school journey when he “started coming across the Elon Musk and the Steve Jobs”, Kal states.

This is where the vision of “problem solving with social entrepreneurship” for his future career transpired.

Kal is currently in his first year of University, studying Commerce Advanced Studies and majoring in Marketing and International Business. He says that “my future goal is to great value in the world”.

Glanznig is also heavily involved in water polo, and he explained in the interview that last year he played water polo for Australia in Europe.

“The most surreal experience”, he claims.

For his year 12 Design and Technology major, Kal sought an opportunity to impact the Sutherland Shire community in which he resides.

Kal says that his initial design was to “develop a green corridor between the Cronulla foreshore and the Kamay Botany Bay National Park”, in the Sutherland Shire.

The Sutherland Shire located in Sydney, NSW, is an Australian local government area filled with beaches, waterways and four national parks. The Sutherland Shire, like many places in Australia, has seen drastic change of infrastructural development to cater for the 218,464 people that live in the area, according to the 2016 Census.

Glanznig states “when my mum takes me out there, to the beach she’ll always point me to the sand dunes and say I used to play in these sand dunes and now there’s nothing there.

That, from a young age spurred the realisation that there was something good and now it’s gone.”

Boat Harbour, which lies on the Kurnell peninsula, is situated in the Sutherland Shire and is currently owned by a family named Holt. The Holt family have owned the Kurnell land since 1861 and have made many attempts to have a development proposal approved along Boat Harbour- the only privately owned beach in Sydney.

The most recent attempt of development suggested by The Holt Family, was in 2016 when the proposal of two hotels and up to 2,000 apartments were put forward, with a total cost of 2 billion dollars.  

Brendon Graham, who is the Natural Areas Manager of the Sutherland Shire Council states “the land is owned privately- the Holts own it so they’ve got the right I guess to do whatever they want with it.”

Graham further states, “the reason it was knocked back was because there was not enough conservational public space. That was one of the criticisms.

It was knocked back for the very reason that Kal picked up, and how it needs to be a public open space park. If he would have put that in it might have gotten approved.”

Kal’s initial thought process of his development idea occurred when he “came across all of these newspaper articles- local newspaper reports of the community backlash and what the process was with these sites. There has to be another way”, said Kal.

During the interview, Kal talked through his development proposal and from understanding he proposes that the Holt development donate some of the proposed space to devote to the community.

This will include an “education centre”, “a walkway through history where you can learn about the history of the Sutherland Shire and all about the indigenous significance of the site” and “the environmental significance with a range of migratory birds and other threatened species that reside there”, Kal describes.

Kal’s concern for the communities benefit of the space derives from the research he conducted prior to his design, where he found a Facebook group called ‘Sutherland Shire News and Alerts’. The page has around 7,000 followers so when the Holt development plan from 2016 was released,  it basically got 800 angry reacts and a thousand shares which reflected a huge community set back with major disapproval of the proposal.

From viewing this reaction, Kal’s motive began to “basically stopping what could be a permanent disaster for the area.”

Kal then explained that he based his project on a survey that was conducted by Sutherland Shire Council that 800 people within The Shire completed. The council discovered what the Sutherland Shire needs to achieve and what the council should focus on.

Kal describes one of the most popular things the council needs to achieve is a “liveable space with a high quality of life”. The Sutherland Shire Council then “released another reports that said parks contribute significantly to the quality of life of Sutherland shire residents” claims Kal.

“With these 800 survey results, that’s sort of what I based my project on to address those and to address the broader community needs.”

After Kal completed his HSC (Higher School Certificate), he claims that he created a goal for 2019 “to create slow movement with this and I had no idea that the movement would be within two months”.

This “goal” began with Kal bringing the proposal forward to Mark Speakman, who is the New South Wales Attorney General and a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Cronulla for the Liberal Party.

Glanznig expresses that this caused a “domino effect” upon the rest of the process with putting forward his idea for the development proposal.

“Meeting with him I could say came from the project of the solar panels because I saw he shared it on his twitter”, says Kal.

Kal shares that from this, he met with all of the “key stakeholders”. He claims that he began with meeting some members of the council including Brendon Graham.

“I reached out to the council and had the natural areas officer- someone who managers all of the parks in the Sutherland Shire he helped me guided sort of what the council sort of wanted with this design so I was able to incorporate a lot of their policies and design inspiration- design requirements” says Kal.

Graham claimed that “often we get students from schools, primary school, high school, UNI students coming to enquire and often they have a knew view on things sometimes. Kal has been one of the exceptional.”

Glanznig and Graham both addressed in their separate interviews that Council do not have a say if the development gets approved or not, as it is an extremely huge decision that involves people beyond the council- the government.

With Kal’s project not corresponding with the time that the Holt development proposal was released in 2016, the exhibitions that allow the public to place opinion and suggestions was a missed opportunity but something that can’t be helped, as suggested in Graham’s interview.

Graham claims that Kal’s development idea is “not part of a natural process.

From a Design and Technology point of view, he’s don’t brilliantly. It’s a school assignment. Not a real life submission. That’s just blurring the line a bit.”

He further states that “we can help him with his assignment but it’s not like we are putting a fair dinkum proposal up.”

Bradley John, a local Sutherland Shire resident found walking along Boat Harbour expresses his opinion “I would like to see them incorporate some historic and community flavour and maybe some park land”.

Kal is currently being arranged by the mayor to talk at a Kurnell business meeting with the Holt family, a sand mining company, Breen Resources Pty Ltd and majority of the key stakeholders in the Kurnell area, where he will pitch his idea to them.

He states that “all of the ducks have been lined up, and now we’re just waiting  to see what Holt puts forward after the federal election.

I wouldn’t say I’m the voice of The Shire, I’m sort of putting the collective voice of The Shire together to provide strength to then take to these Stakeholders.”

Group member:

Xiya Zhang

Riahn Mulcahy