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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.

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start. This photo was taken from a 2nd floor balcony so the size of the building will look bigger when you are standing on the ground.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel meets this Thursday 12th August 2010 at 5.30pm at Marrickville Town Hall to decide on the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site corner of Illawarra Road & Byrnes Street Marrickville. Everyone is welcome.

If you would like to address the Panel, you need contact Ms Carol Pereira-Crouch before 4pm tomorrow Tuesday 10th August 2010 on 938 32105 or

The developers of the 5,6 & 9 storey development on the old Marrickville RSL site must be super confident because they are already advertising the units for sale & doing letter box drops.  Does this mean they think the process is a farce?  Imagine just how far we would get if we tried to sell a 2nd storey on top of our house before our DA was approved?

You can view the units for sale by clicking on the following link –

To read the issues about this development –

September 2009 –

July 2009 ––-20th-july-2010-part-2/

June 2009 ––-8th-june-2010/

April 2009 –

Last night was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr O’Sullivan & Clr Peters. Thanks to Council for the minutes made large on the projector screen. It allowed the people in the Gallery to read what was being written. The following was my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

359 Illawarra Road Marrickville – DA for the old Marrickville RSL site – Clrs Iskandar & Macri are both members of the JRPP for this development so they left the chamber.

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start

Two members of the community addressed the Councillors, both against the DA.  Issues raised were: bulk, scale & height (8 storeys at one end), parking, garbage bins (180 bins one week, 126 the next), noise, traffic, pollution, non-compliance with LEP on floor/space ratio & parking space shortfall (140 spaces for 180 units). They said the community did not understand why Council approved the traffic & parking projections when they didn’t know what the retail space would be used for. Council received 115 submissions & the community petition has 1,114 signatures. Looks like the community don’t want this “landmark” brick of a building with just a few ornamental trees in the driveway.

Clr Olive put up a motion that Council make a submission to the JRPP saying they do not support this DA as it exceeds floor/space ratio & height, will cause unacceptable traffic, has privacy & amenity issues & the DA should comply with current LEP standards.  He said the DA even breaches the proposed LEP & residents should not be excessively impacted by this development. He asked what is the point of having an LEP if non-complying DAs get approved.

Clr Thanos opposed this amendment saying floor space ratio is not something we can afford to enforce in a commercial area, Council waived parking requirements because of the proximity to the railway station & that it was a relatively good DA.  Clr Phillips said Council does have a right to recommend refusal to the JRPP & recommended the JRPP be abolished & power to asses large projects be returned to Councils. He added a further item to the amendment that the powerlines should be put underground. Clrs Kontellis & Byrne spoke about elected Councillors giving the community a voice at the JRPP. Carried. Clr Thanos against.

Changing lanes Festival – A speaker for FBI Radio a non-profit community arts radio wanted permission to hold a fund-raising event on Eliza Street Newtown as part of the Fringe Festival. Carried unanimously.

Mayoral minute: Review of Multicultural Services – The sound system played up again, alternating between sounding like frying eggs & a jack-hammer. The debate lost its way at some time, making understanding of what was being debated or decided very difficult. At some point one Councillor tried to summarize the points others were making. I counted 4 different understandings on the part of Councillors themselves.

So, because trying to follow what was going on became impossible, I’ll take the opportunity to break my commitment to not mention Council staff members by name. I do this because for months now I have watched Ross move silently around the Council Chamber looking after Councillors, other staff & often members of the Gallery, generally making everyone comfortable. I know it is his job, but Marrickville Council has an exemplary staff member here & they are lucky he is not head-hunted.  He is kind to everyone & always has a smile for us.

There were other issues on the agenda, but we decided to leave after an hour of debate regarding the review of Multicultural Services. Here ends the report for this week.



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