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New trees in Princess Street Marrickville

Part 2 of this week’s Marrickville Council Meeting.  Absent: Clr O’Sullivan. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Joint Regional Planning Panels – update – Recommendation: that Council nominates Mayor Hanna & Clr Macri as his alternative for members of the JRPP, plus 2 staff members.

Clr Phillips:  I note that the state government are raising the threshold since the JRPP have come in & we haven’t had many DAs come back to Marrickville Council. The Greens are opposed to the JRPP taking power & planning decisions away from Council.  Given that this is about nominating 4 representatives for the JRPP, it’s unfortunate that 2 representatives are the 2 most pro-development Councillors.  Clr Thanos: I don’t agree. The JRPP was an attempt to depoliticize the process. I have no hesitation with Clrs Hanna & Macri. Marrickville Council can make representations. The JRPP are there to analyze the town planning that we put in place. I’ve seen DAs approved that should have been disapproved & vice versa. JRPP should be tried for a little longer. It’s not in the best interests of the community for councillors who are not architects to decide. JRPP needs tweaking to better represent an open & transparent body. I’m a dental surgeon, but I don’t know enough to make a decision on a multi-million dollar project.

Clr Olive: Whilst we may not have the qualifications, we do have a mandate from the community to intervene on behalf of the community.  The JRPP should be a body elected by that community with a mandate form the community.  Clr Peters: I agree. We are having a lot of our own powers taken away.  There have been 14 DAs since the JRPP [came in].  2 were withdrawn, 2 are pending & 10 were ruled on. All 10 were approved. They are unhindered on Council’s LEP. Marrickville RSL in particular will have a huge impact & the former Newtown RSL site is certainly not in keeping with the control plans for that area.

Clr Byrne: Having been a member, I’ve seen the panel in action.  It’s our Marrickville staff who put the recommendation together. I don’t think these changes outcomes.  It creates an outcome in our community that is Marrickville Council making the decision because Marrickville Council does all the work & gives notice.  Clr Wright: What if we chose not to nominate? What happens?  Staff: Quorum is 3 members so the JRPP could still go ahead without our 2 nominees.

Lovely Canary Island Palm Marrickville

Clr Iskandar: Please look at the big picture. Councils have been sacked or frozen for something. The state took over & decided to deal with it as best as they could to make a decision. I do understand that some of our recommendations have not been taken up. Lewisham Towers – they refused it. I support the nomination of Clr Hanna & Macri.

Clr Kontellis: I have a different view about why the JRPP was established.  Unfortunately Labor led Councils were found to be corrupt with developers paying significant amounts to councilors to get DAs through. For me it’s clear. Take the decision away from the community & give to an independent panel to make an arbitrary decision. We have been talking about how special our community is. How tall should our buildings be, what our parks & streets should look like. That’s our decision to make, not a panel. Unlike some Councillors I live here & I want a say in how it looks & feels. I want us as locally elected people have a say & make the decisions about our own community.

Clr Thanos: Point of order. Councillors cannot make a decision on height. JRPP makes decisions on projects of a net worth. It’s been significantly misrepresented. Clr Tsardoulias: LEP was a process that was adopted. It went out to every resident & business owner about how this community will look in the next 20 years. We talked with the community, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it right. We have consulted & spent 5 years to get this job right. I’ve seen decisions of this Council where we were almost there & then the Council decides to rescind the motion instead of moving for site inspections. The JRPP is independent, unbiased people.

Mayor Hanna:  Ordinary residents have told me some things in the shop a lot about Reserve B. Writing a letter to the new generation because most of the Councillors are refusing to pass DAs. Vote: For Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Wright, Thanos, Hanna & Macris. Against: Clrs Olive, Peters, Phillips, Byrne & Kontellis. Passed.

A street tree on the Princes Highway at Sydenham

Yesterday the Development Application to demolish the Sydenham Station Master’s cottage went before the Joint Regional Planning Panel.  Four residents & a representative from Marrickville Heritage Society spoke to the panel against Railcorp’s application arguing that the cottage was a significant part of Sydenham’s history & was no different in architectural design to a number of heritage-listed Station Master’s cottages around NSW that have been renovated & retained.  They also fought to save the 21 mature trees on the site.

The JRPP gave Railcorp one month to deliver a heritage (as opposed to structural) report.

A community member who attended the meeting said that the Solicitors for Railcorp argued that the DA was inappropriate for the JRPP & should have been decided by Marrickville Council.  Perhaps they are unaware that all Marrickville Councillors voted against demolishing the cottage saying, “the preservation of this building is fundamental.”

Sydenham lost many of its buildings for the Third Runway. To lose yet another public asset & 21 mature trees is something that the community strongly opposes.

I wrote about this previously ––-5th-april-2011-part-2/

The Station Master's cottage at Sydenham was last occupied in 2005.

The Tempe Station Master's cottage is heritage-listed.

This was the Development Assessment & Committee Meeting. The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine. Part 1 can be read here ––-5th-april-2011-part-1/

117 Railway Road Sydenham – Crown Development Application by Railcorp to demolish the former Station Master’s cottage, remove 21 trees & remediate the land.

1 man spoke in favour of the DA: My house was constructed 6 years ago. I have sympathy for Railcorp because of my problems. My house was built about 12 years later. It had white ants, damage problems, family had ill health because of rising damp. The house is pretty dilapidated. The crux of my concern is the ‘do nothing.’ What do you do if you do nothing?  The house is virtually unusable. A layer of soil was brought in which is standard today. It’s seriously contaminated land & trees have grown into that fill. There is no win/win on this. You are trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

2 local women spoke against approving the DA: There are loads of reasons why Sydenham residents oppose this DA. We are concerned with potential heritage considerations. Sydenham lost much of its heart & was literally gutted when the Third Runway was built, so we don’t have much heritage left. Railcorp could use the $450,000 to remove the asbestos & remediate the soil. We have cargo trains, planes, cars & now Marrickville Metro. We don’t need more parking congestion or noise pollution. We would like Railcorp to hear us loud & clear that they have let the cottage deteriorate.

There has been no actual physical consultation with the community by Railcorp, no offer to meet, no assurance of any compensation if any property damage occurs. We all have this soil problem. Just put  a layer of topsoil on over the top.  15 species of native birds live in these trees. The large trees provide a sound buffer from 6 railway tracks. We want the trees & the historical nature of the property retained. I have lived here since 1998. My son always had to be careful of the Station Master (living in the cottage). This house was last occupied in 2005.

A 314-signature petition from the Sydenham community to save the Station Master’s cottage was submitted to Council.

All Councillors were very supportive of retaining the Station Master’s Cottage saying the preservation of this building is fundamental. The new Marrickville LEP changed the zoning so that units could be built on the land, however it was felt that this property was overlooked. The asbestos is not a problem because the sheeting is intact. Neither Railcorp nor Marrickville Council have done a heritage assessment on the property. Many of the Councillors expressed that the property should be available for a business to allow public use.

There were 5 amendments. The Gallery was unable to read the screen so I think the following is to happen.  Representatives from Council & the community will try to meet with the Minister, Council will do a report on the heritage value of the property & Council will refer the DA to the JRPP recommending refusal. Council will write a report that supports retaining the cottage.   Because it is a Crown Development Application Council is unsure whether the community will be able to put in submissions to the JRPP.  The vote was unanimous.

This is from the Marrickville Council's Development Assessment & Committee Meeting papers & shows the Queenbeyan ex-Station Master's cottage & the one in Sydenham

Here is the Station Master's cottage at Tempe. Apart from being renovated, is there much difference in the designs? There is no doubt that this building is a historical asset to the community

Like most things to do with trees & development much has to be done within a short time frame. The Railcorp DA for the removal of 21 trees & to demolish the Station Master’s cottage at Sydenham is a great example. This DA first came to my attention last January 2011 on the last day of submissions. See –

Because of “significant community objection to the application” this DA is on the agenda for the next Development Assessment Committee Meeting at Marrickville Council this coming Tuesday 5th April 2011 at 6.30pm.

Council received 17 submissions objecting to the DA, including one from the Marrickville Heritage Society & a community petition that contained 314 signatures. Way to go people!

Because it is a Crown Development Application, Marrickville Council cannot refuse it, except with the approval of the Minister.  If the Marrickville Councillors accept the staff recommendation to refuse the DA, it will be referred to the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).

Council staff said there was insufficient information submitted with the DA & have not supported Railcorp’s application.  They recommend that the Councillors also refuse the application “on the basis of a lack of information in relation to the heritage potential of the former station master’s cottage.”

Council says that the Station Master’s cottage “is not a heritage item or located in a Heritage Conservation Area” though it is located close to the “State listed Sydenham Railway Station group listing.” I say that the Sydenham Station master’s cottage is exactly the same (though not renovated) as the heritage-listed Station Master’s cottage in Tempe.  With the $450,000 Railcorp intend to spend to demolish the cottage & remediate the land, they could renovate to retain the building & grounds, including the trees, as a public asset in an area where public assets are dwindling.

If it were to become like the Station Master’s cottage in Tempe it would be a significant asset to Sydenham.  The Station Master’s cottage is a lovely building surrounded by a significant number of mature trees & visible from passing trains.

We don’t need to write a submission at this stage, but we will need to when the DA goes to the JRPP.  However, it would be good if you could send 1 email to all the Councillors telling them that you would like them to refuse the DA & that you want the Station Master’s cottage & the trees on the property retained for the benefit of future generations.

3 people can come to the Development Assessment Committee Meeting on Tuesday to speak against this DA. You need to register by Monday 4th March 12 noon. You can register here –

The report can be viewed at Council’s website – – Item 8 -117 Railway Road Sydenham or in hard copy at the Citizen’s Service Centre in Petersham.

If you would like to see the property & the trees, Kass Finlay McAuliffe has created a fabulous YouTube video that shows the large amount of birds & other insects, including Monarch butterflies that populate the site.  It’s well worth a look –

The Councillors email addresses are –

Thank you. J

The Station Master's cottage at Sydenham can be saved. It looks to be the same design as the Tempe Station Master's cottage below

The restored Station Master's cottage at Tempe is a historical asset to the community



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 Land Use & Assets Meeting.  Clr Kontellis was absent. The following was my understanding of the meeting.  All mistakes are mine.

Local Traffic Planning & Advisory Committee – 1 resident spoke about parking in Brown Street St Peters. The issues raised concerned long-term parking problems as many people drop their car off for the day & catch public transport to the city.  2 adjoining properties had requested disabled parking space, but only 1 was allocated meaning the users had to negotiate use. One of the users fell recently ending up at hospital. They re-requested adjoining disabled parking spaces. Carried unanimously.

Street tree with garden

Another resident & business owner spoke about proposed 1-hour parking restrictions in Liberty Street Enmore saying this would put their restaurant out of business. They asked that this be changed to 2-hour parking restrictions.

Clr Macri put up an amendment for 2-hour parking from 6pm-10pm in order to limit restrictions on Liberty Street Enmore.  Clr Wright made an amendment to the streets included in the parking scheme.

Clr Peters made an amendment that both sides of the streets be included in the parking restrictions instead of just 1 side.  She said 110 submissions were received from the community. 63% or 73 submissions said the scheme should go further & include more streets. She thought 12-months was a long time for the trial that won’t start for another 8 months & the residents were already frustrated. She said she thought restrictions on 1 side of the street would not help residents much.

Clr Thanos was against Clr Peters’ motion saying he thought changes needed to be implemented slowly to allow the residents to adjust to the changes. This was supported by Clr Wright. Mayor Byrne said she was happy the Go Get cars had spaces allocated & said 63% of submissions wanted parking restrictions on both sides of the streets & supported Clr Peter’s motion.  Clr O’Sullivan opposed Clr Peters’ motion saying Council needed to be prudent with changes. Clr Peters’ amendment was lost & Clr Macri’s amendment was carried unanimously.

Marrickville Council’s performance – Mayor Byrne was happy that Council spends triple the amount on community services than other Councils. Clr Hanna said that as the Report said we no longer have the cheapest rates & our business rates are also higher, Council couldn’t put up rates in the future. Clr Phillips said the residential rates are lower than the State & Group 3 average so if Council was thinking of doing work on the Library or the hospital site, they need to have a look at this.

Clr Thanos said both Councillors were correct & he’d like to see business rates fall with Marrickville Metro picking up the rest. He said he would only support a special rate variation only after we can show we have made the cuts & it is justified.  He said he would like more money spent on aged services in the LGA.  Carried unanimously.

Approach to community engagement & guidelines – Clr Peters said this encouragers more participation  by the community. (I haven’t had a chance to look at this. If relevant, I will write more about this later).

Joint Regional Planning Panels – Clr Phillips put up a motion that Council revoke all appointments to JRPP. He said Council was told that there would only be 1-2 developments/year. Instead there have been quite a number & all have been approved except 1 that was withdrawn.  He said when Councillors are members of the JRPP they can’t comment on the development in Council meetings. He said Council should write to the government & ask them to abolish the JRPP.  Clr Thanos thought the motion disgraceful, as it would deny the community representation. Clr Olive said that Council staff would still have a role by writing a report & Council will have a chance to make its view reach the JRPP. He said we should send a strong message to the government.

Clr Iskandar said he would support Clr Thanos’ idea to endorse Clrs Macri & Tsardoulias as representatives on the JRPP. He said these processes were put there to benefit our nation & sometimes we have to compromise.

drinking rainwater

Clr Macri said he couldn’t support Clr Phillips motion saying he found the JRPP process to be fair & it also accepted input from the residents. He said he would be more than happy to continue as a representative on the JRPP.  Clr Peters said if the DAs had come to Council, Council would have dealt with them. Now the process has been taken away from Council. Clr O’Sullivan said this approach effectively withdraws all support other than secretariat & will bring no benefit to the community.

Mayor Byrne said she didn’t believe in JRPPs & thought Council should be sending a strong message to the government about them.  She said the community does not think they work well. She also said she retained her view the Mayor should be on the JRPP & that the Councilors are the only ones who can bring the ‘emotional voice’ from the community. She said it was difficult that a member of the JRPP can’t be lobbied & if she was on the Panel she would work hard to bring the social heart to the process. Clr Phillips said Part 3A was very unpopular & the JRPP can’t be voted out of office & they were not voted into the position by the people. Motion lost with Clrs Olive, Peters & Phillips voting for the motion.

Clr Macri moved the next motion for himself, Clr Tsardoulias & the Director of Environmental Services to be on the JRPP. Motion lost.   Clr Olive moved that the Mayor be a delegate on the JRPP. Carried.  I couldn’t quite follow who the other representative was to be, though I think it is Clr Macri.  Meeting finished.

The next meeting was the Services Committee Meeting. As it concerned the Riverside Crescent Subcatchment Management Plan & the Greenway Connection to the Cooks River, I will write about these in the next post.


Recently we visited Leamington Avenue Newtown & as we drove there we saw something fantastic.  Either NSW Rail Corp or City of Sydney Council has erected a concrete wall between the raised section of the railway line and the nearby houses, presumably as a sound barrier for the neighbourhood.  What makes this so fantastic is, it is not just a concrete wall or a decorated concrete wall, it’s a green wall.

Green wall along the rail line behind Leamington Avenue Newtown

At regular intervals, steel mesh going up 5-6 meters high has been attached along the wall & Chinese Jasmine is growing.  Not only does this make the wall look good, but the vines are designed to cut down the Heat Island Effect created by the sun bouncing off the concrete.  When the Chinese Jasmine flowers around Christmas it will look spectacular & smell great as well.

This is such a simple & cheap intervention, which begs the question, why this isn’t done elsewhere as the norm?

On 26th August 2010 a letter written by Clr Marcri was published in the Inner West Courier.  In this letter he said he wanted “to set the record straight in regard to my role in the approvals process for the Marrickville RSL site development.”

He went on to say “I think it is a landmark development that shows confidence in the future of Marrickville.” He said the development was approved both by Marrickville Council & the JRPP. He also said “Design is subjective,” going on to say that the development was designed by an award-winning architect.

Andrew Woodhouse, President of the Australian Heritage Institute wrote a reply that was published in the Inner West Courier on 2nd September 2010.  Mr Woodhouse wrote “It’s about time Clr Macri was told. He tries to sweep away design objections to the proposed bulbous Marrickville RSL saying design is of course subjective as though anyone’s views are valid but no-one’s view counts. He is wrong.”

Mr Woodhouse then wrote about various factors of measurable design excellence & said, “On all accounts this mega-project fails.” I agree.  My impression was that all those who spoke against the project at the JRPP Meeting were against the design aspects of this building & judging by the applause after every speaker so were the large group of local residents who attended. Why would the JRPP listen to the community when the development had been endorsed by Marrickville Council?

Marrickville ex-Councilor Colin Hesse, who attended the JRPP meeting was the first to write to the Inner West Courier about this development.  The letter was titled, ‘7 Storey Disaster.” He wrote “The approval of the massive 7 storey development of the old Marrickville RSL club has set a shocking precedent for Marrickville ..” He also mentioned “..genuine community participation  & is based on sustainability.”

It’s not my aim to go on about the development on the old Marrickville RSL site because it is going to happen & there is nothing we can do to prevent this.  What I do want to discuss is the information Clr Macri’s letter gave the community.

He said Marrickville Council approved this development & that “this building under the new LEP will be an underdevelopment. …“ Add these statements to his earlier statement of “… it is a landmark development that shows confidence in the future of Marrickville.” & it tells me that Marrickville Council fully intends to give the okay to many more developments that not only look like the development for the old Marrickville RSL site, but are as high, as dense & bulky as this is.  I am worried.

Clr Marcri also gives notice that the new Draft LEP about to be released for public consultation will not be making green buildings or green design mandatory.  I think this is very important when you consider that Marrickville, Illawarra & Petersham Roads will become between 6-9 storeys high with 13 storeys recommended for the old Marrickville Hospital site.

We have known Marrickville is going to change as well as other areas around the LGA, but designs that are compatible with the old pre-climate change/ pre-global warming paradigm is not something I am happy about.  When I see green walls for a railway line wall, yet the newest residential building declared a landmark & most likely used as a benchmark for future development has 180 air-conditioned units, not counting the retail space & 4 street trees along the Illawarra Road frontage & none for Byrnes Road I feel a little …..  When I remember the dismissive attitude to solar panels & a green roof during the JRPP meeting my blood starts to boil.

Another view of the green wall along the railway line in Newtown. It has made a back lane that was probably full of graffiti tags & rubbish look lovely

I’m a realist. I know Sydney as a whole is going to change. I read last year that the NSW state government wanted the industrial area next to Marrickville Metro to hold around 9,000 plus residences. Don’t quote me on this. I didn’t save the article & I cannot find anything about it now, though I know I didn’t dream it as I have spoken to a couple of others who also knew of this plan.

I was told that a recent application to have the area rezoned residential was unsuccessful.  I’ll predict here that this area will be rezoned residential one day in the not-too-distant future & I bet AMP Capital anticipate this, like the M6 planed someday for Edgeware Road just 1 block away.

High-rise residential is coming to Marrickville LGA & it will be dense & tall. Now that the world is talking about global warming & climate change wouldn’t you think that both the Council & the architects would make the shift to the new paradigm when designing new buildings meant to last the next 60-100 years?  If not, why not?  Why has Marrickville Council said any development for the old Marrickville Hospital site has to be a 6-star sustainability rating & yet they have not required this for any other high-rise residential building across the LGA.  I’m baffled.

The signage for the development at the old Marrickville RSL is, “The Revolution Begins.” We need our Council to ensure that the ‘Revolution’ follows the climate change paradigm that insists future developers create a true revolution by designing green buildings.

Green walls are not rocket science, yet their benefits are outstanding. Heat is not reflected thereby lowering the Heat Island Effect. They lengthen the life of concrete, they look good, they improve the streetscape & make ugly areas pretty, the prevent or significantly reduce graffiti & they are almost as good as trees in the benefits they bring. Psychologically they would do much to break down the oppressive feelings tall buildings can often bring.  Lastly, they are cheap to create.

You can read Clr Marci’s letter here – Opinion page 19 –

You can read Andrew Woodhouse’s letter here – page 23 –

You can read Colin Hesse’s letter here – page 17 –

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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