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Last night was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clrs Hanna, Peters & Thanos. The following is how I understood the meeting & any mistakes are mine. I have chosen to go into detail about the most important item of the night & may write about the other agenda items tomorrow.
Mayoral Minute: Funding Impact Assessments associated with the proposed redevelopment of the Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre – Council authorises the Marrickville Chamber of Commerce to draw on Marrickville Main Street Reserve Funds up to $10,000 to prepare a consultant report on the economic impacts associated with the Marrickville Metro Part 3A application & that the Department of Planning be requested to extend the consultation period for another 30 days to allow the Chamber of Commerce & other stakeholders to respond.
3 people spoke asking Council for $10,000 to add to another $10,000 donated by the Marrickville Chamber of Commerce to get an independent traffic study regarding the impact of Marrickville Metro expansion on Marrickville LGA.
A resident of Edgeware Road spoke saying traffic was at gridlock Monday to Friday & “crazy” on the weekend on Edgeware Road. She disagreed with the AMP Capital Traffic Report that said “there will be no traffic from the north.” She thought that AMP Capital has under-reported traffic in the area. That AMP Capital want to take away 50 metres of parking & make part of Alice Street into 3 lanes showed they are expecting lots of traffic. She spoke of 1,600 cars passing per hour on Saturdays. She also mentioned the 37,000 sq mt IKEA to be built in Tempe. She said most of the shop keepers along Enmore Road don’t know of Metro, many don’t speak English well & need help from Marrickville Council to understand what is at stake & actual help with their submissions. She feared people would just go to Metro if they had trouble parking along Enmore Road.
A member of Metro Watch spoke saying they need a fighting fund of $30,000. He said the Traffic Report from AMP Capital doesn’t bring new issues since their last traffic report done in the 1980s. He said AMP Capital were not addressing high traffic, bus movements, taxis, drivers to the centre or to other malls in Ashfield or Broadway or the traffic to St Pius School. Nor were they taking into account Easter & Christmas shopping periods.
Joe Khoury of Marrickville Chamber of Commerce spoke saying they understood Marrickville Metro wants to be the new Town Centre & this would destroy the viability of Marrickville shops. He said the Traffic Report should be considered as a study in Marrickville sustainability. He said AMP Capital purchased Marrickville Metro during the financial crisis for 130 million, then tried to sell it for 90 million. They have now expanded into industrial land, which has been rezoned retail increasing their land value 3 fold. He asked that Council release $10,000 out of the Chamber of Commerce funds to help shop-keepers fight the Marrickville Metro expansion.
Clr Kontellis spoke about the change in laws by the NSW state government that allows big developers to bypass Councils during the development application & that Councils don’t have a say. She proposed an amendment that the other shopping strips in Marrickville LGA should be included in the report. Clr O’Sullivan added more to the amendment – to fund preparation of report looking at economic & other issues arising from the Marrickville Metro Part 3A application on businesses throughout Marrickville LGA.
Clr Byrne said Marrickville Metro put their plan out for public consultation just when the media was concentrating on the Federal election. She said the Greens had letter dropped businesses a few months ago & the businesses were
shocked. She said Council is opposed to the sale of public assets as well as Smidmore Street to a private entity for profit. She made an amendment that Council donate $3,000 to Metro Watch for their campaign.
Clr O’Sullivan said she was going to suggest the same & supported Clr Byrne’s amendment adding to the amendment that Council provide in-kind support to fundraising initiatives for the campaign. Clr Phillips said he strongly supported the Mayoral Minute & amendments & said if the Marrickville Metro expansion DA was going through Council, it would never be approved. Clr Wright also supported the Mayoral Minute & amendments, saying it was an outrageous proposition from AMP Capital & to expand was completely out of the question.
Clr Olive spoke about the Sydney Morning Herald article where a figure of $8 million was given for the sale of Smidmore Street. He said that selling the street could do more damage to the community & there was nothing to justify selling the street. He also said AMP Capital’s request for 50 metres of parking space on Alice & Edgeware Roads intersection spoke volumes about how much traffic they were anticipating. Clr Phillips put a further amendment for Council to print 3 banners & hang them outside Town Halls across the LGA, saying that Marrickville Council opposes the Marrickville Metro expansion.
Mayor Iskandar said all Councillors will work together to knock the Metro expansion off. He added to the amendment that he would speak to MPs about the inappropriateness of the expansion. He said a minimum of 12,000 people will be badly affected by this DA & that Labor had also distributed brochures about the planned expansion. He said he hoped the Council & the community will be able to celebrate victory together.
Let’s hope so. There is only 9 days left as it stands at the moment to get your submission in to the Department of Planning opposing this over-development. You can read more about the Marrickville Metro expansion & the loss of 142 trees by clicking on an earlier post - http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/marrickville-metro-expansion/
This week I counted the following trees around the current Marrickville Metro & the block where they intend to expand.
67 Fig trees, 9 Brush Box trees, 3 Camphor laurel trees, 8 Eucalypts, 4 Palm trees, 1 Canary Island Palm, 2 Melaleuca trees, 8 Bottlebrush trees, 4 Peppercorn trees, 10 Wattle trees & 26 unidentified species of trees.
TOTAL POTENTIAL TREE LOSS = 142 trees
There are another 24 medium trees on site that may be included in the development bringing the potential total tree loss to 166 trees.
AMP Capital say the Fig trees only have an average 5-15 years left to live. In ideal conditions, Figs live 150-200 years. Although these trees are not in ideal conditions they are very healthy. To replace the trees they plan to plant 28 Eucalyptus paniculata (Grey Ironbark) along Murray Street & low level accent, grass & groundcovers “to ensure that general safety, sightlines & CPTED principals are maintained.” – meaning all signs & the building will be very visible as if the height of the new buildings is not enough.
I think losing these trees will be a huge loss for the community, for air quality, for beauty of the area & for urban wildlife. Currently most of Marrickville Metro is hidden behind large beautiful, healthy trees. I cannot imagine the area without them. Most of these trees are mature & took decades to grow.
The Metro expansion will also result in a 65-68% increase in traffic from an estimated extra 4 million customers a year. It will destroy our local shopping strips & remove much of the individual kind of shop that make the Inner West unique.
I asked a taxi driver standing outside Metro what he thought, thinking he would be for the expansion as it would bring him more business. He replied, “It will kill the local shops in Marrickville, Enmore & Newtown. I don’t think it will be good for us.”
AMP Capital also want to purchase Smidmore Street from Marrickville Council. I think there is a big chance that Council will sell Smidmore Street to help with their financial situation. In last Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald –
Council sources said a figure of $8 million has been discussed for the purchase of Smidmore Street, along the shopping centre’s southern boundary, but that no formal offer has yet been made. Several councillors told the Herald the council is united in refusing to sell Smidmore Street ”on principle”, but would not comment on whether that position would change if the project gained approval. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mall-goes-a-street-too-far-opponents-say-20100811-11zqg.html
In return for traffic gridlocked streets, parking problems, much more noise, air pollution, visual pollution & the potential loss of at least 142 beautiful trees, AMP Capital will give us many more shops like we can get at close-by Roselands, Eastgardens or Broadway shopping malls. They are also offering a small library & a community education board.
We already have a number of fabulous & free-to-use libraries courtesy of Marrickville Council & a public education board is nothing to get excited about.
The expansion to double the size of the current Metro makes me wonder where the customers are going to come from. Around 2-3 years ago, all the shops in Metro were required to do a specific renovation as part of sprucing up Metro & their rents were raised. A number of shops were struggling to meet this cost & some moved out to set up shop elsewhere. Since then, there have always been vacant shops in Marrickville Metro.
I am of the belief that AMP Capital would not be investing millions to do the expansion if they weren’t absolutely sure they will make bucket-loads of money.
Right now the area is classified as a village, but if the expansion goes ahead, the Department of Planning may be within their rights to reclassify the area as a ‘Town Centre’ simply because of the size of Marrickville Metro. This will mean that development in the league of Bondi Junction & Hurstville will be allowed.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the industrial-zoned areas around Metro being rezoned residential. Once that is done, a ‘unit city’ can be built very close to Metro. Then, to cope with the massive increase in traffic, the M6, an arterial road that is planned for Edgeware Road may one day be built. Edgeware Road is already often bumper-to-bumper. The Marrickville Transport Action Group say – Cardigan St, Edgeware Rd, Liberty St & Kingston Rd are key to the F6 plan.
Who knows if my theories have any weight, but it does make more sense as to why such a huge shopping mall is being planned when there are not enough current customers & it constantly has a number of empty shops.
The proposed Metro expansion is going to have a massive impact on Marrickville & surrounding suburbs in terms of traffic & pollution. To my mind, it is not just an issue for residents who live nearby & shop owners, although it is an appalling prospect for them. The expansion is an issue that will affect many of us because:
- it will choke many of the roads that are at capacity now
- it will likely weaken our shopping strips reducing choice & this often negatively affects variety of products & price
- it will reduce competition
- it will bring more 19-metre long semi-trailers to our narrow suburban streets &
- it will take away the community feeling that shopping strips help create, because these are public spaces where we retain all our rights as citizens, whereas shopping malls are private spaces under the control of developers/corporations.
Unless the community come out in great numbers & say they do not want the Metro expansion, it will happen.
If you are against any aspect of the planned expansion, please send in a submission to the Department of Planning by Friday 27th August 2010. Their e-mail is – Plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au
It is called Major Project – MP_0191 – 34 Victoria Road Marrickville. If you would like a draft submission please send me an e-mail.
I am posting this separately from the full Report from the Gallery because of the Public Meeting about the Marrickville Metro expansion tonight. The following is my understanding of the discussion & all mistakes are mine.
The Public Meeting is to be held at tonight Wednesday 21st July 2010 at 7pm at St Peters Town Hall, 39 Unwins Bridge Road Sydenham.
Click on the following link for more details – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/public-meeting-regarding-marrickville-metro-expansion/
Request for extension of time for community submissions concerning the DA for Marrickville Metro expansion – 2 residents spoke asking that instead of the usual 30 days given for submissions, that this be extended to at least 60 days. They said AMP has had masses of time to get themselves organized & that most of the nearby residents are not aware of the planned expansion. They said there is not much information about the expansion on the Marrickville Metro website, that supposed door-knocking & letter drops by Elton Consulting to the residents has not been successful in that most don’t know what is happening. They also spoke about current problems of traffic, 4am deliveries & maintenance, staff parking in the streets & noise.
Clr Hanna put up the motion to have the consultation period extended to 60 days. He spoke about being blocked for 15 minutes while a Woolworths truck was doing deliveries. He said none of the residents know what is happening & there are a lot of complaints about Metro as it is currently. He said to make it double the size & buy the street is going to create major problems & asked where the 700 new staff are expected to park.
Clr Phillips put up an amendment that Council is to write to the Minister to hand the assessment of the DA back to Marrickville Council. He said the expanded Metro would be a disaster, that it would hurt our shopping strips & cause problems with parking. He said AMP want a privatized space where there is no infrastructure & the process allows a limited scope for consultation.
Clr Thanos supported the 60 day consultation period. He said the planning process has been the most disgraceful process he has come across & it looks like a deal has been made with the state government with AMP as the beneficiary. Mayor Iskandar said Council was preparing everything to oppose the expansion & the shopping strips will suffer, but the law is as it is. He said we will fight the process together, but shouldn’t raise false hopes.
Clr Marcri said parking does not exist for local shopping strips so people drive on to Metro & the shopping strips cannot compete with this. He also said the local streets near Metro have been earmarked as parking for the new Enmore pool & that if Metro expands, there will be a huge gridlock further out & residents will suffer. Clr Byrne said if the Metro DA is passed, the state government Department of Planning will not be following fundamental planning processes as Council has been told they cannot change the zoning in this area. Carried unanimously.
What I did notice was that no-one mentioned the many, many trees that will need to be removed if the expansion goes ahead.
The community now will have 60 days to put submissions in regarding the Marrickville Metro expansion & they will do this with the knowledge that all Councillors oppose the expansion. Hallelujah! Hope to see you there tonight.
AMP, which owns Marrickville Metro, plans to expand the shopping complex by 35,000 sq mts, more than doubling its size. They intend to bypass planning restrictions from Marrickville Council & apply to the Joint Regional Planning Panel under Part 3A. In my opinion it is highly likely that the plan will get the go ahead from the JRPP, as they seem happy to permit development that local Councils have indicated they are likely to refuse.
The Marrickville Greens are opposed to the proposed expansion of Marrickville Metro & you can read what they think about the issue by clicking on this link – http://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/marrickville-metro-expansion/ I am unaware what Marrickville Labor or the Independent Councillors think about the proposed expansion.
On AMP’s Marrickville Metro web-site they say their research showed:
- One in 2 people found the idea of an expanded Metro “very appealing”
- 81% of Marrickville LGA residents thought that an upgraded Metro would serve the community better
- 58% liked both strip shopping locations & shopping centres
Apart from the obvious impact this development will have on our local shopping strips & issues like increased traffic, pollution & delivery trucks, SoT’s main concern is the probable loss of all the mature trees which surround the Metro site & all the mature Eucalypts which line the surrounding roads.
Around the perimeter of the current Marrickville Metro there are 54 Figs, 13 Brushbox, 3 Camphor laurels, 1 Peppercorn, 1 Palm. There are 11 mature Eucalypts on Smidmore Street. This is a total of 83 mature trees & I did not include the smaller trees.
Looking at the drawing of the new Metro on AMPs web-site I would consider all these trees at risk of removal. The artist’s impression of what the finished development will look like is interesting. The drawing of the new Metro shows 3 London Plane trees & lots of paving.
AMP say they want feedback from the community. They don’t appear to be asking how we feel about the expansion or whether we want it or not, but what kind of shops & amenities we would like. Regardless, you can write to AMP & give feedback. email@example.com
Personally, I don’t want a bigger Metro. Two supermarkets are enough for me. I definitely do not want all those trees chopped down. I believe that for the Inner West we need the opposite to concentration of large volumes of traffic towards 1 block of land. A sustainable inner Sydney needs shopping strips near where people live as opposed to being forced to use their car & travel for kilometres each time they go shopping.
AMP’s Marrickville Metro web-site is at the following link – http://www.marrickvillemetroshopping.com.au/developmentupdate.amx
We went to Berowra Waters today, which required driving up the Pacific Highway. The last time I did this I wrote about the street trees. This time I wanted to see specifically what the differences were between the Pacific Highway & the sections of Princes Highway & Parramatta Road in Marrickville LGA.
There were a number of noteworthy differences. The Pacific Highway has thousands of street trees along its length. A significant number of these trees are Eucalypts. They cascade over the highway, many having branches which cross over 3 lanes & sometimes as far as the opposite side of the highway.
Bottle Brushes are not the dominant street tree, with most trees being of a taller growing species. Many of the street trees are 1/3 higher than the power poles & thick trunks are quite common.
Far less than 50% of the trees have trunks that are as thin as an upper arm. Many street trees were planted around 3 metres apart, which helped create a decent canopy. Most of the trees have a natural shape & I did not see a single tree in a cage even within the shopping strips
The street trees planted in shopping strips spilled out from under the awnings & loomed over the highway. Naturally to achieve this they did not have straight trunks & they have not removed because of this.
Much of the Pacific Highway has a grass verge with a narrow footpath. Only the shopping strips are paved or cemented. The grass verge serves to soften the environment, which is quite an achievement considering the Pacific Highway is one of the top 10 heavily trafficked roads in Australia. I watched the verge of the Highway for its length wondering how they were managing with far less cement. I noticed the footpaths were narrower than in the Inner West & many trees hung over the path requiring any pedestrians to either duck or weave their way around the tree. I actually saw this happen & it appeared to cause no difficulty for the pedestrian who was a woman over 50. So very different from here, where just last week a council worker took to our fence with a whipper-snipper to hack away 20 centimetres of errant camellia which protruded out from under the fence. Considering the footpath outside our fence is a wide one for the area, I thought this was overkill.
So do we sanitise & control nature more than they do on Sydney’s North Shore? I think we do.
In direct opposition is our section of the Princes Highway & Parramatta Road, both of which are an eye-sore in my opinion. The Princes Highway cannot possibly get uglier & being so close to the airport, it is one of the gateways to Sydney. The roads directly surrounding the airport were heavily planted with street trees, shrubs & flowers for the 2000 Olympics. In the main, they still look good & are maintained by Botany Council. I doubt once the visitor leaves these roads & comes to the Princes Highway that they will have a favourable impression of the area. The Princes Highway is in the main a worship of cement. Soot stained, dirty cement. One can count the street trees & they are a sad, straggly lot. There is a gross lack of green infrastructure. This changes when the Princes Highway comes under the jurisdiction of City of Sydney Council at one end & Rockdale Council at the other. For a green council, Marrickville seems to be ignoring this stretch of highway.
The same can be said for Parramatta Road, which is stark in its lack of green infrastructure, though it is slightly less ugly than the Princes Highway because of the type of grey infrastructure (some may debate this). Again, Leichhardt Council & City of Sydney Council have planted threes where Parramatta Road comes under their control, though City of Sydney Council has done far more work & planted many more street trees. If City of Sydney, Rockdale & Leichhardt Councils can plant street trees along these main roads, why can’t Marrickville Council?
Why do we need so much cement? Trees help the longevity of grey infrastructure like cement footpaths because their shade protects from the harsh sun. We also know that roofs, roads & footpaths cause the heat island effect & trees lower this. Temperatures can be 9 degrees cooler in the shade of a tree.
The North Shore is deemed classier. I think this is not because of the housing stock, but because of the plentiful tall trees & the significant green canopy. Friends have told me they moved to the North Shore because of the trees. Balmain & Paddington were built as working class suburbs as were those in Marrickville LGA, yet both these suburbs are regarded as better suburbs & their properties are generally worth more. Why? Is it the presence of water? Being close to the city? Perhaps, but Marrickville LGA is also close to the city & has its own beautiful Cooks River.
I think it is because of the trees. On the drive back from Hornsby, the closer you get to Marrickville the more you notice the trees thin out, get shorter, look less healthy & street tree after street tree have been severely hacked. The trees on the North Shore aren’t hacked in this way.