You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘affordable housing’ tag.

The original facade in Camperdown has been retained.  The trees on the left are in Camperdown Park.

The original facade has been retained. The trees on the left are in Camperdown Park.  The trees on the right were planted as part of the development.

Attractive seating, attractive fences, plus great trees & gardens.   In there is also a swimming pool.

Attractive seating, attractive fencing, plus great trees & gardens. In there is also a swimming pool.

part of the public walkway.  Care has been taken to make this area attractive as well.

Part of the public walkway looking onto Denison Street. Care has been taken to make this area attractive as well.

Street tree planting & verge gardens were part of the development project.

Street tree planting & verge gardens were part of the development project.  I think it looks wonderful.

For quite a while there has been frequent debate on Facebook regarding the plethora of apartment developments recently built in Marrickville & Dulwich Hill, in the process of being constructed or currently in the DA process. I think it is good to see such community interest.

The majority who leave comments are not against high-rise & recognise the need for more housing, though it is my impression that there is a consensus that the Local Environment Plan should be respected in regards to height restrictions. There are varying opinions as to whether retaining facades or recreating facades is good or the all-modern concrete & glass boxes are the way to go.  Many want to facades to fit in with the streetscape & I am one of those who hold this view.

The term “affordable housing” is used often; though $500,000 plus for a one-bedroom apartment is not anywhere near what I would consider affordable.  The term is a misnomer in my opinion.

A couple of weekends ago I visited Camperdown Park.  From there I noticed a lot of new street tree planting & verge gardens, so I went over to have a look.  I found myself outside a relatively new apartment development called ‘The Gantry.’  After having a good look around & after talking to residents I came away thinking that this is the way to provide very livable housing.

While I was looking around, I kept thinking of the new developments happening & the community conversation about these developments.

The Gantry offers one, two, three & four bedroom apartments, so the complex does offer that politically hot term – “affordable housing.”  To offer a comparison, the pricing is similar to ‘The Revolution’ on Illawarra Road Marrickville, though from the whole outlook & green space provision, the two are poles apart.

‘The Gantry,’ located at 139-143 Parramatta Road, Camperdown is where the Fowler pottery warehouses & High Bay building used to be.  Marrickville is famous for Fowler Pottery, so it is wonderful to have retained this historical link while repurposing the factory.  The complex also fronts Denison & Australia Streets & is opposite Camperdown Park.

The Architects managed to keep the historic façade.  They also incorporated verge gardens & street trees, radically improving on what was a treeless & visually harsh side of the road. The shape of the buildings was interesting & quite attractive, so I am very pleased that they were retained.

This development shows that very good, personable & livable housing can be designed & that it can fit into the streetscape without looking like an ultra-modern building in a primarily Federation style area.  Of interest, there is gated underground parking for residents.

Inside is modern, while outside retained the façade that has been here since the 1850s. To me, this is important. Other big cities of the world like London, Paris & New York have retained much of their building history & I cannot see why the same cannot be done for Sydney. I can remember when the Queen Victoria building was regarded as an eyesore & there was a strong push to knock it down, just like they did to the Anthony Horden Building in Haymarket. Now the Queen Victoria building is viewed a jewel in the heart of Sydney’s CBD & we lost the gorgeous Anthony Horden Building.

I was very surprised at the amount of green space in The Gantry development. A public walkway paved with old bricks (not concrete or granite), cuts between two buildings.  Here a panel describing the history of the building is mounted on the wall.  Above are metal beams & glass that open up to the sky. Many examples of original fowler pottery have been mounted onto the wall to further provide a historical link. I am sure this building will be put on a tourist trail, if this hasn’t happened already. People can come & see without intruding on the residents who live here.

This is a very clever way to soften the visual environment.

This is a very clever way to soften the visual environment.

The walkway has long good-looking wooden benches where people can sit. There are plants everywhere.  Grasses have been used, but not as the dominant plant.  There are a wide variety of hardy plants & quite a few tall growing trees. Pot plants line corridors between buildings, so nature features everywhere.

Street trees have been planted at regular intervals on both Denison & Australia Streets.  Even the planting of the verge gardens is imaginative & attractive.   There is quite a bit to learn from their low maintenance plant choices.

There are two large garden areas that are like large pocket parks. These are perfect places to catch a bit of sun, read a book or the like.  There is also a good-sized swimming pool.   The very leafy Camperdown Park is just across the road complete with incredible moving exercise equipment available to use for free.   It’s like a mini-gym of quality that I don’t think I’ve seen in any other park in the municipality.

All the people I spoke to said they liked living there & it did not seem to be a place where people bought as a stop-gap before moving on to something better.  It is a humanistic environment with softness that nature provides.  I think the Architect who designed The Gantry did really well & three cheers to the developer who wanted to add quality housing, not just make a quick buck. This is an excellent example of what can be done when designing high-density housing.  I just wish this were the norm.

A nice place to sit while waiting for your friends to come out.  Everywhere you look there are plants & trees.

A nice place to sit while waiting for your friends to come out. Everywhere you look there are plants & new tree plantings.

The Australia Street landscaping that first caught my eye.  The Street Tree Master Plan says Council will not plant street trees opposite parks. Despite the large trees in Camperdown Park, I believe this street will look wonderful once these Poplars have grown up.

The Australia Street landscaping that first caught my eye. The Marrickville Street Tree Master Plan says Council will not plant street trees opposite parks, however, these plantings have been done as part of the development.   It looks wonderful now & will be even more lovely when these Poplars have grown up.

The historical signage inside the public walkway

The historical signage inside the public walkway. Again, look at the variety of plants.

Looking upwards.  On the wall is orginal Fowler pottery.  It looks clean, bright & very attractive to my eyes.

Looking upwards. On the wall is orginal Fowler pottery. It looks clean, bright & very attractive to my eyes.

They have chosen easy to manage, hardy & attractive plants with a tree planted in every verge garden.

They have chosen easy to manage, hardy & attractive plants with a tree planted in every verge garden.


In Steel Park Marrickville South you get wooden benches & chin-up poles for free-to-use exercise equipment, which is great. In Camperdown Park you get state-of-the-art equipment, also free-to-use.

In Steel Park Marrickville South you get wooden benches & chin-up poles for free-to-use exercise equipment, which is great.  In Camperdown Park you get state-of-the-art equipment, also free-to-use.  There is a vast difference.


In February 2010 I posted about community action to save Hoskins Park in Dulwich Hill from a 3-storey development of 11 town houses next door that would remove 15 trees & which would ‘loom over’ Hoskins Park. Two development applications were submitted & both were refused.  Council cited non-compliance with local planning controls & the huge community opposition to the development as reasons for refusal.  The Marrickville Heritage Society also put in a submission against the development, particularly the intent to demolish two 1920s houses.

It was regarded as an overdevelopment back then & now another DA has been submitted, this time almost twice the size at 20 units. Currently the site is zoned 2A – low residential density, prohibiting multi-level & mulit-unit residential development in the Hoskins Park area. Half of the 20 units will be affordable housing (20% off market rent for 10 years). Perhaps they are hoping that the affordable housing component will ensure that the zoning requirements are ignored & the DA gets approved?

In the latest DA they want to do the following –

  • Demolish parts of the historic Brooks Lodge. This building is being considered for heritage listing.
  • Demolish 34 & 36 Piggot Street, two Federation houses that appear to be in excellent condition.  36 Piggott Street in particular has its original features, tessellated tiles, chimney & stained glass windows.
  • 3-storey units will overlook Hoskins Park. As the land is on the hill directly above Hoskins Park, which slopes down towards the Greenway, the units will indeed ‘loom over’ the park.
  • They also want to remove a mature Melaleuca street tree on Denison Road & an Evergreen Ash (Fraxinus griffithii) street tree on Piggot street. New trees will be planted here when the development is completed.
  • They want to remove 4 trees from the front formal garden of Brooks Lodge & replace with a formal garden of their own design.  3 of the trees are of significant size & at least one is visible on the skyline from Hoskins Park & surrounding streets.  A Frangipani will be relocated somewhere else.
  • 4 small to small-sized trees inside the property will be removed.
  • 1 mature Canary Island Palm will be removed. At the very least this tree should be transplanted somewhere into the streetscape of Marrickville LGA or a few metres across the fence & replanted in Hoskins Park. These trees cost thousands of dollars to source & are great sources of food & habitat for many species of birds as well as flying-foxes. They also handle transplanting well.
  • All up this DA seeks to remove 11 trees.

Healthy Canary Island Palm - instead of chopping it down, why not relocate it across this fence into Hoskins Park or at the Cooks River or into a traffic island or somewhere else in Marrickville LGA?

I personally think there is much to be concerned about with this DA apart from the unnecessary loss of trees.  To remove 4 healthy mature trees in a formal garden of an historic house to create another formal design is totally unnecessary in my opinion.  The loss of these trees will have a major impact on the skyline & the leafy feel of this area.  It will be also removing food sources & habitat for urban wildlife. Throwing away the Canary Island Palm is dreadful.

Local community group ‘Save Hoskins Park’ believes that the development, should it be approved, will have a significant detrimental impact on both Hoskins Park & the character & amenity of surrounding streets. They need others in Marrickville LGA to help them preserve the amenity, privacy, unique character & view corridors of Hoskins Park by sending Marrickville Council a submission opposing this development.  You can contact ‘Save Hoskins Park’ if you would like a draft submission to make it easier at –

The DA (DA201100201) can be viewed here –

The deadline for submissions is 12 noon 19th May 2011.  Submissions can be emailed to –

I made a short video of the trees that will be lost & the houses that will be demolished if this DA is approved –

& a short video of Hoskins Park –

Showing the front garden of Brooks Lodge - every bit of green including the street tree is going to be chopped down or removed to create a new formal garden. It is already a beautiful formal garden.

Absent: Clr Iskandar.  The following Is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine. To reduce the length of this post I will mostly remove “he said/she said” with the comments coming after the speaker’s name.

Question on Notice: Council costs associated with the boycott of Israel – 3 residents, who identified as Jewish, spoke against the BDS & asked Council to reconsider the boycott.  In summary, they said the BDS is a one-sided policy with no

Cockatoo eating a Sunflower

instances of inclusion, co-operation or serious desire for peace. It divides our community with the Aboriginal & Jewish community feeling excluded & like second-class citizens. Council should instead do peace projects & volunteer dental programs as examples & share our religious festivals.  One speaker said, I do get offended when people say that unless you believe in the BDS you don’t believe in social justice. With the BDS, you are against social justice. A local school has decided to boycott Marrickville Council activities.  One speaker asked, are we really debating middle-eastern politics in Marrickville Council? Another, Do you want to be the generation of Councillors to cause division in the community?

2 residents, 1 who identified as Jewish, spoke in support of the BDS saying it’s causing discussion in our community & is a peaceful boycott.  It doesn’t target Israeli people, rather Israeli state policies. Israel is consistent in defying international law & there are Australians who think that Palestinians deserve a fair go. It’s sad that so many Jews can’t support Palestinian human rights. The Jews are not under threat. It’s not about anti-Semitism or excluding Jews, it’s about human rights.  Because it was a Question on Notice, Councillors did not debate.

Leasing the Coptic Church Tempe – There were 2 applicants: The Anglican Catholic Church Original Province & The Coptic Orthodox Church Heritage Trust.  The Bishop for the Australian & NZ Anglican Church spoke: 3-years ago we asked Council if we could hire the Coptic Church. He spoke about the use of the church for the community with 45% of the church’s communicants being under 18-years of age. This centre is important because it’s at the gateway to Australia.  The second speaker from The Coptic Orthodox Church Heritage Trust arrived late so did not speak. The old Coptic Church now gets a new lease of life with Council deciding which of the 2 applicants will use the site.

Rescission Motion against a new park for Marrickville: Clrs Tsardoulias, Iskandar & Macri put in a Rescission Motion (RM) to stop staff looking into the feasibility of a park in front of the planned new library at the corner of Marrickville & Livingstone Roads Marrickville. The space is currently a car park & a green area with many large trees.   See – I spoke against the RM.

Clr Tsardoulias: Supporting the RM. The Greens delayed the building for 6-years. Council have spent thousands on the Masterplan & to do the park we will give away affordable housing.

Clr Thanos: Opposing the RM. The delay wasn’t caused by the Greens. The assessment of the space showed that it would need a 10-storey building to have both the library & the Civic Centre there. I proposed an 11-storey building that wasn’t supported.  Now Council has to decide whether the library or the Civic centre goes there. We should not stack the site with buildings. We should maintain some green space. People are always telling me it’s needed.  We would be the only Council in the last 50-years that can deliver a park & it will be very difficult to do this in the future. The motion was to check the feasibility for this.

Families of protected Ibis live in the Canary Island Palm trees on the Marrickville site being nominated for a new park

Clr Phillips: Opposing the RM. Astounded that Clr Tsardoulias thought he was shut down in the debate as the Mayor put up an extraordinary Council Meeting that no-one, but the Greens attended. Here we are talking about a 9-storey building on a unique piece of land some way from the Cooks River. We have the lowest green space in Australia. It will be a great gateway to the new library & it’s a good thing for the community.

Clr Wright: Supporting the RM. Great concern about process. We have spent time & money & the Masterplan has been devised. If you remove 1 aspect, all aspects are up for option. It’s an opportunistic & ad hoc approach to delivering a park. A corner is not a good location for a park & it’s on the library’s back side.

Clr Olive: Opposing the RM. Clr Tsardoulias alleges that the Greens have delayed this for 6 years, the Greens have only had decision making powers for 1 year over the past 6 years. Clr Tsardoulias delayed this by his RM & asked that a report be put in by February, but your RM stopped staff from working on this.  A park on a corner is a good outcome. It’s not an ad hoc process. The Greens were consistent in the LEP discussion. We thought large buildings were unacceptable to the community. Including a park is viable.

Clr O’Sullivan: Supporting the RM. It’s not the best place for a park. It’s a busy road. Seems there is an obsession with height & some of the Greens councilors would have had a protest about St Bridget’s tower. This is the 5th or 6th consultancy of this & the key things the Greens always leave out are integrated planning & issues of design. Stick with what we have got & build low-income homes in the centre of the city.

View of the site for the proposed new park in Marrickville

Clr Macri: Supporting the RM. Residents are upset at the amount of time this site has remained idle. We were looking at the hospital building as the library so open space would have been on the Lilydale Street side. It’s not aesthetically pleasing on a busy corner. We take trees down as it suits us – 48 were removed for the Enmore Pool. We have an LEP, no-one has said anything about increasing space for a park. I don’t want things unused & people & children so close to traffic.

Clr Hanna: Supporting the RM. This is the most expensive land in Marrickville & you want to destroy it. This land can make Marrickville Council one of the richest Councils in Australia. We have to do a Masterplan for this site.

Clr Kontellis: Opposing the RM. Councillors were in support of the motion last December. We only added Point 4 asking, can we add another level, can we have a little more information so we can make an informed decision? I don’t believe this RM is in the best interest of the people of Marrickville.

Clr Peters: Opposing the RM. It’s glaringly obvious that Clr Hanna sees this land as a goldmine. I see it for the future of our community that doesn’t have much open land. The land isn’t here to build & sell housing on. Regarding parks on corners; look at Hyde Park, Enmore Park or Central Park in NYC. Most parks in built-up areas are near traffic. It’s not away in an industrial area, it’s opposite bus stops, a church & a very popular restaurant.  We have to think of the future, this is community profit that people can use.

Mayor Byrne: Opposing the RM. I believe previous Councils meant to work on this land for the community. We were gifted with Tempe Tip & we have done a great job on Tempe Reserve.  The hospital site is a main project on its own. It has opportunity & capacity. This RM will not allow us to see what this property can deliver. What was moved & adopted by Council is to ask, is it feasible on the whole site to have a park & let’s see what information we get back.  If the report says it will create problems with the viability for other projects on the site, then we won’t pursue it.

Clr Tsardoulias then read out the names of Greens Councillors who voted against aspects of this site from what he said was the Minutes of the last 6-years & said, I moved this RM because you shut me out.

Clr Thanos: When Clr Tsardoulias was not allowed to speak the debate had been closed.

Clr Tsardoulias: Putting a park here goes against affordable housing. We have got a crisis in the community. Kiss goodbye to the library & affordable housing. You are not thinking of the ratepayers. It’s financially unviable to do this as we only have $2 million in reserve.

Clrs Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan, Hanna & Macri voted for the RM. Clrs Thanos, Olive, Peters, Kontellis, Phillips & Byrnes voted against it. The RM was lost.

To keep the size of this report manageable, I will write about the other items of interest in a separate post. Here ends Report from the Gallery Part 1.

Proposed site for the new park in Marrickville

This was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Clrs Iskandar & Macri were absent.  The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine  There were a number of DAs on the agenda.  I have decided to write about only 2 because of the issues surrounding them.

568 Illwarra Road Marrickville – seeking to build 3-storey 7-unit block with off street parking for 6 vehicles. Council staff recommended refusal because of over-development, height, bulk, scale with “fatal flaws in the proposal.” The report listed 16 reasons for refusal including, “considered to provide poor amenity for future occupants.”  The developer spoke to the Councillors saying he will now offer the units to Metropolitan Housing as affordable housing for a period of 10 years. He wanted the matter deferred to give him time to discuss issues with Council.

Steele Park signage about the swales & water garden design. The WaterPlay Park at Steel Park will open on Sunday 7th November 2010.

Clr Wright moved to defer with a condition that all material required from the applicant must be given to Council within 21 days, saying affordable housing was too important to reject. Clr Phillips was against deferring as there were multiple deficient criteria. Clr Olive was against deferring saying he was not against affordable housing, but as there was an exhaustive list of issues that were wrong, the DA would need a significant overhaul. He foreshadowed a motion to revert back to the report’s proposal to refuse the application.

Clr Thanos said there was also an issue of site contamination & the absence of further information from the developer legally bound Council to refuse the DA.  Clr Hanna supported deferring, saying the DA provided affordable housing though this didn’t mean he would approve the DA. Mayor Byrne did not support deferral saying she was very concerned that the development was considered to provide poor amenity to future occupants & that internal amenity was important.

Clr O’Sullivan supported deferring saying the key issue was affordable housing at 20% below the market cost for 10 years & said it would most likely be rented by nurses, aged care workers, bus workers & the like. She said the applicant should be allowed to work on contamination, solar access, flood level, waste disposal & design issues. She said she would be happy to see a group of people being given the chance to enjoy the community.

Clr Kontellis said she didn’t support deferral because she thought this was setting the applicant up for failure. She said she did not want to create ghettos & poor standard of housing & the current plans will provide substandard accommodation, particularly amenity.  Clr Phillips said the applicant had met with Council about affordable housing requirements, yet hadn’t adjusted the application. He said he didn’t think it was good to defer when the DA was lacking in standards & non-compliant on a number of issues.  He was also concerned that this development would set a standard for the future & fill Marrickville with substandard housing.

Voting in favour of deferral – Clrs Wright, Tsardoulias, O’Sullivan & Thanos.  Against – Phillips, Byrnes, Peters, Olive & Kontellis with Clr Peters as Chair giving the casting vote.  Motion for deferral failed.

Trees at Mackey Park

Clr Olive spoke to the motion, which was to revert to the report’s recommendation to refuse the DA saying this is a 2A residential area. Clr Thanos said the current application is unsuitable & should not be allowed to go through. Clr Hanna said he didn’t support refusal as the applicant may change the DA & not include the whole block as affordable housing.

Clr Tsardoulias said this was unacceptable & that the Labor team moved for deferral so the applicant can work with staff & this was a win/win situation.  Clr Thanos then read from the legislation that said Councils cannot consent to development on contaminated land that has not been remediated. He said Council staff say the site is contaminated, yet the applicant hasn’t submitted the required information & therefore should be refused.

Clr Phillips said the Greens were not against affordable housing, but it was not correct to approve substandard housing just because it is affordable. He said people have a right not to live in substandard housing.

Carried with Clrs Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan & Hanna voting against.

80 Victoria Road & 12 Leister Street Marrickville – This is a DA to readapt Bethesda House & Stead House into residential flats & erect 3 other buildings to make 45 dwellings. The DA is in an area classified as of ‘regional significance’ & will go before the JRPP.  Council is recommending refusal.  The DA is seen as excessive in height, bulk & scale, will not complement existing streetscape & compromises heritage items & their settings. It also “significantly exceeds maximum floor space ratio.” The residents of all 19 houses on Leister Street signed a petition against the DA.

2 residents addressed Council supporting Council’s recommendation of refusal. They said everyone in Leister Street was against the development. They spoke about the following issues – parking is a huge problem & this DA effectively turns Leister Street into a giant driveway, 16 dwellings on Leister Street & now they want to put in 45 new units, most dense DA they have seen, community was concerned about the increase in traffic to the units & the increase in traffic to Metro & the pool. They asked Councillors to vote against the DA.

The fate of the trees surrounding Marrickville Metro are with the Department of Planning now

Clr Thanos said that residential units are prohibited in this area & Councillors should vote against it.  Clr O’Sullivan said this is an allowable application because it will conserve Bethesda House & Stead House, both heritage buildings.  She thought the intensity of the dwellings will detract from Stead House, squash & crowd it & that intense overdevelopment will destroy these buildings. Clr Phillips said all DAs should be coming through Council & that so far, all DAs in our LGA decided by the JRPP have been approved. Clr Olive said he hoped the DA would be refused by the JRPP.  Motion to recommend refusal carried.

Clr Phillips moved an urgent item without notice that Council buildings not be used for JRPP meetings.  Clr Olive said there is confusion in the community because the state government has created an overlap in the functioning of Council & the JRPP & Clr Phillips’s motion will reduce this confusion.  Clr Wright thought it was “mindless symbolism.” She said residents contact Councillors who help them navigate the JRPP process & that Councillors have an impact on JRPP decisions. She thought residents understood the difference in the two processes.

Clr Thanos was concerned about residents from a non-English speaking background who don’t understand the difference between the JRPP & Council. He said he supported the motion to find another location.  Clr Hanna didn’t support the motion saying people may have to travel to the city making it harder to attend.  Carried with Clrs Tsardoulias, Wright, O’Sullivan & Hanna voting against.

Here ends the Report for this week.


This was the monthly Council Meeting. Clrs Thanos, Iskandar & Tsardoulias were absent. Clr Tsardoulias is in hospital so I wish him well & hope he has a speedy recovery.  Apologies for the length of this post. There was a lot on the agenda & I find it hard to be both brief & fair.  The following is my take of the proceedings & any mistakes are mine.

Old Marrickville Hospital Development This debate was recorded by 2SER radio.  A representative from Climate Action Newtown (CAN) addressed the Councillors saying that 500 households in the LGA receive updates about CAN’s activities &

I found these on a tree in Enmore

they constantly hear that the community want action about climate change on a local, state & federal government level. CAN believe making the development a 6 star sustainability site & carbon neutral, making it a fabulous opportunity to show real leadership to other councils across NSW.  (contact information for Climate Action Newtown is in the blogroll located in the left-hand column).

Clr Phillips moved a notice of motion that the development of the hospital site be designed to achieve a 6 star sustainability rating & carbon neutrality saying it was important that Marrickville Council lead on environmental issues & set a good example. He cited Council House Two in Melbourne as an example saying it may cost a bit more, but will pay for itself in the long run.  While Clrs Wright & Marcri said they were concerned about upfront costs, all Councillors supported the motion.  A staff member advised Marrickville Council had at last count $4M – $5M value in unencumbered property. Clr Phillips said that the costs could be an impediment, but CO2 also has costs to society & the environment & that this kind of development should be the standard in new buildings.  Carried unanimously.

Support for the 100% Renewable: Community campaign for clean energy. A community representative associated with CAN & with the 100% Renewable Campaign (national grassroots campaign calling for Australia to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change) addressed the Councillors saying this campaign was a great way to engage the community. She spoke about the campaign & asked for Council & government support saying Council’s support would send a strong signal to the community about renewable energy.

The motion by Clr Phillips was 1. Provide a link on Council’s website 2. Mention its support in the Inner West Courier 3. Co-sponsor a banner to be hung from Newtown Town Hall for 1 month 4. Give a grant of $500 for campaign materials. Clr Wright asked about costs & staff said each banner costs around $700 & if it comes out of the Contingency Fund it can only be to support incorporated organisations.  CAN is incorporated, but 100% Renewable is not.  Clr Wright supported points 1 & 2, but not points 3 & 4.  Clr Hanna supported points 1, 2 & 3, but not point 4 saying that garbage on the streets was more important & this money belonged to the ratepayers.

Clr O’Sullivan supported Clr Wright’s comments suggesting it may be more fruitful for CAN to apply to Council for a community grant. She could not support point 4.  Clrs Kontellis & Byrne supported motion in full with Clr Byrne suggesting CAN apply for a community grant anyway.  Motion carried. Clrs Phillips, Byrne, Kontellis, Peters & Olive supporting & Clrs Wright, O’Sullivan, Hanna & Macri against.

Affordable Housing. This was definitely one of the agenda items where I think it would be hard to be a Councillor.  The gallery had around 17 young people who were members of a group called Centrepiece Queer Art Collective.  One of their members addressed the Councillors & the debate was recorded by 2SER. She spoke about how the Collective are homeless & have been squatting in the old Marrickville Hospital. Council have asked them to leave so an audit can be done for fire safety issues. The Collective wanted to be allowed to use the building if it is

tree canopy

deemed safe & said they had the local fire station assess the area & do an informal inspection.  The Fire Brigade said exit signs & smoke alarms would be sufficient. She asked how come they could organise a fire check in 1 afternoon & Marrickville Council couldn’t in 15 years saying this was “bureaucracy before human needs.”

A resident in the street spoke in support for the Collective saying he bought 12 years ago & was told development was imminent, yet the building has remained empty.  He said the building could have been used for housing & Council should consider what they can do to remove fire & health hazards & support this group of responsible homeless young people. He said they created no problems for the local residents.

Clr Byrne wanted to add to the motion that Council write to the state government about providing more affordable housing. She said the old Marrickville Hospital site is in Major Projects, but there are financial aspects, fire safety audits were done 2007 & 2008 & there were key reasons why Council can’t allow the young people to live in that site. She said it would be morally corrupt to allow people to use it because of asbestos on site.  She also said Council staff have found housing for the Collective & Metro Housing Group is offering 12 months accommodation.  She said Council has just worked on the Draft LEP to provide flexibility in industrial areas to provide live/work areas for our creative residents.

It was a long debate where all Councillors acknowledged the difficulty of homelessness, the demand for housing & the availability of affordable housing. Clrs Byrne, Hanna, Macri, Phillips, Kontellis, Peters, Olive  & O’Sullivan spoke on the issue. They were concerned for the Collective, but could not agree to allow them to live in a building that was unsafe. Clr Peters asked staff to outline recent developments about affordable housing in the LGA.  The staff member said Council has applications for Boarding Houses & the Dept Housing has more houses in the area. He said the biggest growth was through St George & Metro Housing who have probably added 30-40 houses, but the reality is affordable housing has got less. The motion was for Council to explore potential use of unoccupied buildings, audit these buildings & assess the costs to make them liveable dwellings & ensure any development of Council owned property contains affordable housing.  Carried unanimously.

Protect our National Parks from privatisation. Motion by Clr Byrne for Council to write to Frank Sartor Minister for the Environment & Climate Change,  requesting he withdraw his bill to allow commercial development in National Parks & ensure any attempts to increase visitor numbers are done with the best interests of local communities & local environments.  Carried unanimously.

Third Quarter Performance Report 2009-2010 & GST Compliance Certificates. Received & noted. Carried unanimously.

Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre Plan of Management. There was some discussion regarding the café, with Clr Olive asking what happens if the café ceases to operate, does it return to the control of Council. Staff said they would seek legal advice. Clr O’Sullivan had some concerns regarding the restrictive nature of the contact citing the clause ‘no use of butter’ as an example.  Staff said there was a 1½ page nutritional statement to serve as guidelines for minimal standards of food served by the café so we don’t end up with pie & chips. Carried unanimously.

Safety around Sydenham Station. Clr O’Sullivan said that residents have started a Clean Up Sydenham campaign as they are concerned about safety walking from the station to Unwins Bridge Road past the derelict Station Masters house & another empty house & rubbish in this area.  Motion to ask Railcorp to clean up, remove weeds & overhanging vegetation & for Council to advise of options for improving amenity & safety. Carried unanimously.

Henry Tax Review & Housing Affordability. Clr Phillips spoke briefly about the report & said given that affordable housing comes up in Council debates he would like fellow Councillors to be familiar with it & said Council should be writing to all levels of government about affordable housing. Carried unanimously.

Energy Efficient Street Lighting. Clr Peters put forward a motion to request Energy Australia to replace all street-lights with energy efficient bulbs on main roads throughout the LGA & to notify residents of Council’s action.  Clr Wright moved an amendment that instead of writing to residents about this, to notify them via Council’s website, Marrickville Matters & rates notices to save money. This was accepted by Clr Peters. Clr Olive said he wasn’t against writing directly to residents as they needed to know both sides of the story & this may push the supplier into action. Carried unanimously.

Support for Refugees & 2010 World Refugee Week. Clr Peters wanted Council to promote a rally on Saturday 26th June 2010 saying many residents of Marrickville

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LGA are refugees. She said we would like the federal government to lift the freeze & close Curtin & Christmas Island detention centres immediately. Clr Wright said she noticed Council displayed a banner at Petersham Town Hall & would now be doing the same at Newtown, Sydenham, St Peters & Marrickville Town Halls at the cost of $2,500. She said she would rather use the money on people rather than on banners.  Clr Peters asked for guidance from staff as to the issue of reuse of banners by Council.

Clr Phillips said it was “atrocious” what the government has done with refugees saying it is “back to the dark days of Howard.”  He was worried that sewing lips & self-harming would start again. He said it was “the regime of cruelty with people behind razor wire just because of their mode of arrival.” Clr Kontellis supported the motion saying Council should be taking supportive action & said the government’s action on refugees was appalling. Carried unanimously.

Meeting concluded.



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