Tonight the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) met at Marrickville Town Hall to consider the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site. Well, they did approve it (unanimously) despite around 100 people from the community attending & 12 people, including Clr Kontellis, Clr O’Sullivan speaking at length about what they believed were the problems of this development. I also addressed the Panel. There were many arguments  from the community including that the proposed building was ugly, inappropriately big, greedy, non-green & insensitive to the locality.

The Panel members were Clr Macri, Mr Ken Hawke, Mr John Roseth, Ms Mary-Lynne Taylor & Mr David Furlong.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

The JRPP gave the following reasons for approval:

  • The height of the development is not reasonably out of context with other developments & future planning
  • The current floor space ratio requirement is 2:1, the development will be 2.29:1
  • The height of 26 metres is allowed for this site
  • The traffic impact is acceptable
  • There will be some views loss, but on balance the proposal allows reasonable view sharing
  • The developer advertising the units before approval by the JRPP was noted, seen as ‘unfortunate,’ but did not influence the Panel.

The JRPP imposed 2 conditions:

  1. The waste storage had to be designed in a way that the garbage trucks can enter the property, this be dealt with & with the okay from Council before development starts
  2. Install appropriate AS115A street lighting across the street at no cost to Council

Essentially, why would the JRPP knock back a 7 storey development when Illawarra Road & Marrickville Road is about to be developed with 5-6-9 & 13 storey buildings?

The Architect spoke about his cultural background, that he grew up in Campsie, danced at the Marrickville Town Hall when he was younger & was an award winning Architect.

He said along the following lines,  I designed the Lamia development & am extremely proud of that. It was refused by Marrickville Council & has won an architecture award.  People were complaining about that. I’m not shy about landing a big building in Marrickville as it can do an enormous amount of environmental good. It’s called urban consolidation.

He said he had 25 more points (I would guess they were issues brought up by the residents to address), but decided not to, asking the Panel if they had any questions for him.  They had 3.

1. Why is the building so high?

A: We have a mandate to work within what is already presently there. 7 storeys is a significant offering to the street. There is an enormous amount of amenity in buildings these days. Hollowing out the centre does this.  High is an appropriate form.  Marrickville Town Hall has enormous height.  Any building next to a railway should be a public building.

2. Why haven’t you included solar panels?

A: Technology would be token. We do not have the solar cells. Better would be passive like not being required to turn the light switches on. (All 180 units have reverse cycle air-conditioning. Now that’s green.)

3. Had you considered a green roof?

A:  Not an environmental mandate.  You have to water a green roof. To what end is pumping water up to the roof? (Actually, I have read that certain succulents routinely used for green roofs planted on a purpose-built green roof base do not need watering, survive solely on rainwater & can sustain long periods without water)

So there you have it. The local people at the meeting left angry.  I feel very sad.  This building is just the start of high-rise development in Marrickville town centre.  The only building that I have heard discussed as having green requirements, is the Marrickville Hospital site. I can only hope that the new Local Environment Plan includes green building & sustainability such as green roof, green walls, solar power, decent sized trees & green space as a mandate.