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Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

This was the Infrastructure, Planning & Environmnetal Services Committee.  All Councillors attended.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Status Update Report preliminary planning proposal for part of the Marrickville/Sydenham Industrial Area – Victoria Road Precinct. – The proponent wants to amend the Local Environment Plan (LEP) to change the zoning of 18-hectares of industrial zone ‘employment lands’ to provide “creative industries” & residential housing to a “maximum building heights to 14-stories” with a 3:5:1 floor/space ratio.

The Council staff’s recommendations concluded with – “By submitting a planning proposal to Gateway, Council would signal to the Department that it considers that the proposal is justified & has strategic merit prior to it being able to reasonably conclude this to be the case.  It is self evident why the proponent would prefer this approach.”

Clr Macri put up an amendment to send the proposal to Gateway for assessment. FOR: Clrs Macri, Hanna, Iskandar, Woods, Tyler & Gardiner. AGAINST: Clrs Brooks, Leary, Phillips, Ellsmore & Haylen. The proposal now goes to Gateway.

The debate lasted around 2-hours, so would be too much content to post here. Instead I will quote some of the more memorable comments by Councillors in the order of speakers.

Cr Macri: Our staff are reading the rule books. I can see merit in the proposal. I grew up in the area. I hope this proposal can move us to a better outcome. I can see overhead pedestrian bridges & open public space. When I was Mayor we made things happen. I haven’t given up.   We have to move forward. We are the Councillors & we drive the agenda. In Arlington, our kids are out there playing soccer, while others are stuck at home. Clr Phillips: Clr Marci doesn’t even live in the area. Clr Macri: I work in the area.

Clr Gardiner: The Greens Press Release says it will drastically change the area & it will. This area is a disgrace – an urban blight.

Clr Phillips: It stayed an employment area in the LEP because it was close to the airport & Port Botany. Where will the employment lands be?  Staff say if we send to Gateway this gives the message that Marrickville Council endorses the plan. We shouldn’t endorse a plan that has serious flaws that the community doesn’t know about.  It cost Council $2 million to consult with the community to develop the LEP & the LEP did not have this area rezoned for 3,000 extra dwellings. 3:5:1 floor/space ratio is rarely found in this area.

Clr Ellsmore: We are exceeding our housing dwellings.

Clr Hanna: I am sick of residents coming to me & saying my kids can’t buy in the area. The RSL units were bought for $500,000 & now selling for $750,000. Do we want people buying from the Eastern Suburbs & the North Shore & not the kids of Marrickville?   The petition was a waste of my time because the postcodes were not in the area. Last time I was told, you will lose, but I got more votes than before. I am running again. [for a position as Councillor].

Clr Woods: We struggle with most employment lands & we don’t employ anyone.  The heavy lifting is in the South Ward. Item 5: a 10.8 hectare rezoning near Sydenham Station to become a light music hub. I will be interested to see if this gets the same response to the Victoria Road Precinct.

Clr Leary: Do we really think that these properties will be selling at an affordable price? We are talking about thousands of new residents. I catch the bus to work & the buses go past full. Recently some of our bus stops have been closed down. Our transport is to capacity. If you bring in 6,000 to 9,000 people, where are they going to stand to catch the buses? Clrs voted to LEP that increased density beyond what we thought comfortable & now we have a whole new ball game.

Clr Brooks: Property economists will tell you that buildings like this will not help single people or families. There is no evidence that affordability will be achieved at all.

Clr Macri: Marrickville is evolving. I’ve been around for 45-years & it is changing. If you want to know what Sydney will look like, look at other cities.

Showing the boundary of the proposed Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

Showing the boundary of the proposed 18-hectare Victoria Road Precinct. Click to enlarge.

Call me naïve, but what much of what I learnt during the Council Meetings I observed came as a surprise. One of the most important insights was the incremental changes, brick by brick, & the Victoria Road Precinct is a great example.

The developers came to the May 2012 Council Meeting & said what they wanted to do with the 18-hectare site.  The Councillors voted as follows –

Clrs Olive (Greens), Phillips (Greens), Byrne (Greens), O’Sullivan (Labor) & Wright (Labor) against the proposal.  Mayor Hanna (Ind), Clrs Macri, (Ind), Iskandar (Labor), Tsardoulias (Labor), Thanos (Ind) for the proposal with the then Mayor Hanna (Ind) using his casting vote to pass the vote. See – http://bit.ly/1rF1roi

During the extensive consultation process for the Local Environment Plan (LEP), the community was shown things like height restrictions & floor-space ratio & together with Marrickville Council, agreed on a development plan for the future. I have been very surprised that the LEP has been changed a number of times post approval & is still being amended to allow for more rezoning, development & higher buildings.

Since the LEP was finalised, the total for new dwellings for Marrickville has increased from a government required 4,150 by 2031 to a Councillor increased amount of 12,000 whenever these dwellings can be built.   The debate in Council Meetings went something like, though don’t quote me – “I remember when Marrickville had 110,000 residents & it was busy on the main street. Marrickville can cope.”

Once the LEP was finalised development started & many in the community went into shock with the ugliness of some of the developments, the loss of heritage buildings & the application for 16-storey high-rise in a location where 8-storeys was the maximum in the LEP.

“But how can this be allowed?” was a very common response from the community & they had to start fighting Council to prevent this. Thankfully Railcorp saved the day & stopped the 16-storey development because it encroached on Railcorp land.

In response to community outrage over a high-rise development in Dulwich Hill, Mayor Haylen lobbied for an Architectural Excellence Panel & thankfully, this was established.  Problem is though, this panel cannot be employed to assess every development because of the costs to rate-payers & if the Councillors don’t vote to send the DA to the panel, it doesn’t get assessed.

Earlier this month I sat in a Marrickville Council Meeting & watched the Councillors vote to allow for one-bedroom apartments that were a whopping 40% BELOW the floor-space ratio requirements.  My question is how can this be allowed?

The “Victoria Road Precinct” development is on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Infrastructure, Planning & Environmental Services Committee meeting on 2nd September 2014 & for the first time I see mention of 14-storey buildings planned for this massive 18-hectare site.  This is vastly different from the 6-storey buildings shown in their proposed images of the site that was provided to the Councillors in the Council Meeting of May 2012.

One other point that I think is important is that the development of the Victoria Road Precinct will be razing most of the area to the ground.  Also in Tuesday’s Infrastructure, Planning & Environmental Services Committee meeting is the attempt to save the lovely Beynon & Hayward building in Livingstone Road Petersham to be demolished to extend a Council car park. The community does not want to lose this iconic building, judging by the numbers who signed the petition & the comments left on the local Facebook site. See – http://bit.ly/1skfXi2

Both the National Trust & the Australian Institute of Architects have criticized Marrickville Council over this move. Also an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the proposed demolishion said –

“London or New York might salivate at the prospect of reviving an inner-city heritage landmark, but in Sydney it seems we’d still just as readily swap character for a car park.”

Back to the Victoria Road Precinct, a new modern glass, steel & concrete precinct is not at all in keeping with the character of Marrickville in my opinion.  Many of these buildings could be repaired & repurposed to make the area similar to those in London or New York. However, the plan is to make this area of Marrickville look like what is happening to Alexandria at the moment – a suburb of high-rise square blocks.

Demolishing all the buildings may be easier for the developers, but I personally think it will be a loss to the community & to Sydney itself.  The Meatpacking District in Manhattan was once regarded as a slum, but since it has been rejuvenated it is now a marvellous place to live & work. Part of the charm is that the buildings were retained & repurposed into housing & employment.

I am in total agreement with this recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald.  It is about the Beynon & Hayward building, but it could just as easily be about the proposed plans for the Victoria Road Precinct.

_________________________

Marrickville Council is under heavy fire from heritage experts, who fear “ill-informed” decision makers are repeating Sydney’s errors of last century in the race to redevelop increasingly valuable inner-city space.” See – http://bit.ly/1k8JINc

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Now I must state clearly that I am NOT against development & that I believe that we need more housing.

I just would like development to conform to the height restrictions & floor/space ratios in the LEP, not be substandard housing & also retain as much of the streetscape character of the area. It can be done well & beautifully. See my post on The Gantry in Camperdown http://bit.ly/1sR1PMg for an example of great housing that retains the façade, yet provides housing of a great standard of modern housing for the same or similar financial outlay as other recent housing developments in Marrickville & Dulwich Hill that are currently polarizing the community.

I would also like the so-called “affordable housing” to actually be affordable & for those that are rental “affordable housing” to be given to actual finacially poor people & not to people based on what job they have.

My greatest fear is that I will end up living in an area that has lost much of what motivated me to move here in the first place.  I fear that traffic, which is already becoming unmanageable, will be horrendous. I believe that, if this push for  concrete, glass & steel high-rise goes ahead, the community will be asking why were these developments allowed just like they do about many of the local monstrosities built in the 1970s.

We are in the hands of our Councillors. Let’s hope they do not destroy Marrickville for the profit of developers.

Planning diagram of the development proposal for the Victoria Road precinct back in May 2012 - nothing like the current 14-storeys proposed.

Planning diagram of the development proposal for the Victoria Road precinct back in May 2012 – I can’t see the 14-storeysas currently  proposed.

The planning diagrams for the  Victoria Road frontage of the Victoria Road precinct as part of the development proposal.  Again, nothing like the 14-storeys currently proposed.

The planning diagrams for the Victoria Road frontage of the Victoria Road precinct as part of the development proposal in May 2012. Again, nothing like the 14-storeys currently proposed.

Marrickville Raven

Marrickville Raven

This was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Absent: Clrs Tsardoulias, Hanna, Brooks & Leary.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

459-463 Illawarra Road Marrickville – extend the trading hours of Woolworths supermarket to 7.30am – 10pm on Saturdays & 8am – 10pm Sundays & public holidays. Council considered that extended trading hours would not have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area & recommended a 12-month trial.

First speaker from Woolworths: Said customers needed to be explained why store closed at 4pm on Sundays. There were 560 signatures on a petition to allow extended trading hours. Woolworths distributed 15,000 leaflets. Said trading to 4pm is inconsistent with other stores & what is proposed is consistent with zoning. There are no proposed changes to the loading dock. The store employs 130 people. Woolworths is a local company owned by hundreds & thousands of Australians. The supermarket sells the essentials of life. The changes make things easier for families to buy essentials when they want to buy them.

Resident 1:  This application is similar to the one in 2011 that Council rejected because it would have a significant impact on the surrounding area. Nothing has changed. It will still generate a high level of traffic, trolley dumping, loitering, noise & litter. The business paper has a perspective that this is a commercial area, but it is a predominantly a residential area. The business paper says approval would be unlikely to result in an increase in traffic & noise. This cannot be correct. Many of the shoppers use cars. If you walk down Renwick Street at 5pm on Sunday, this is the only quiet time in the whole week. The business paper also points out other shops open after 4pm. The figures are wrong. Only eight operate after 8pm. These are boutique shops, not comparable to large Woolworths. The fact is that these small corner stores cater to shoppers past 4pm. Shoppers can also go to Wolli Creek & Metro. Market Town in Leichhardt operates from 10am – 4pm on Sundays. I am asking Council not to reconsider its 2011 decision. If there is a 12-month trial, traffic monitoring of the area is needed. More work needs to be done for pre & post traffic measurement for it to be a meaningful trial.

Resident 2:  We have no objections to extra hours on Saturday & think that 10am – 4pm on Sunday is ample. We encounter daily high traffic, blocked driveway, rubbish everywhere. People sit under the ramp & drink alcohol & urinate. Faeces can be smelt. Alcohol use outside Woolworths has risen ten-fold since the liquor outlet was opened. There has been an increase in robberies & bags stolen from homes. We have a small respite in the week & we would like to keep it. When it is quiet, the street is not packed with cars. We can hear the PA system at 10pm. Woolworths doesn’t need the extra income. Wolli Creek, Metro & Banana Joes is open on Sunday evenings. The residents deserve to keep this small window.

Resident 3:  I will not address the merits of the DA. What I will say is about Council’s conduct. The business paper speaks about Community Consultation. What it does not tell you is that the advertisement that I saw said: “It should be noted that comments received will not be treated confidentially and may be viewed by the applicant.” It is a blanket practice allowing access to identifiers: names, addresses, contact details. No-one has a say as to whether they wish their identifiers not be accessible to DA proponents. This is inconsistent with others Councils.  For example, Sydney Council’s invites subitters to say if they wish their anonymity to be respected.  A similar direction is on the Information and Privacy Commission’s website.  Council’s advertisement is not consistent with its obligations under the GIPA Act.  The GIPA Act does not say that Council must allow access to personal information in DA files. It does not say that Council is permitted to allow access without undertaking the statutory balancing exercise to ascertain if there is an overriding right that makes access inappropriate. The community’s privacy right is such a right. It protects identifiers & contact details.

Allowing access to identifiers creates a chilling effect on the community. It creates a fear that personal information will be available to every developer. You get fewer submissions.  It is not for developers to be checking whether a submission is genuine & who made it. This is Council’s function. Identifiers do not improve a proponent’s capacity to respond to any community comments. People said to me this is not right. I don’t want developers to know who I am, where I live, what my contacts are. This is for Council to know.  A person said I am a silent voter. I will not make any submissions to Council when it allows access to my name & address. Just knowing that identifiers may be accessible is enough to create a chilling effect.

The business paper does not tell you that the Privacy Commissioner is examining Council’s practice & has now written to Council. There have been two Tribunal decisions where developers tried to obtain access to identifiers, which they did not know. Both developers lost.

You may choose to approve the recommendation. But it is the product of a process inconsistent with Council’s privacy obligations. The right thing is a resolution that asks Council to re-advertise the DA, clearly saying what the law is.  That is, identifiers will not be accessible without an opportunity to have a say about privacy & without Council complying with the test that the GIPA Act requires of all government agencies. Your resolution should also include a paragraph that asks Council to write to submitters & clearly inform them if Council allowed access to un-redacted submissions in this case & exactly to whom it allowed access, so that submitters can think about whether they wish to make privacy complaints.

Clr Macri moved the motion to support extended trading hours for Woolworths.

Clr Phillips:  Said he will not support the motion, but was moving two amendments. I used to live in South Marrickville & felt confused when Woolworths shut down at 4pm.   I do think extended hours will support the community. It does affect the residents’ convenience. The headlights shine directly into the lounge room opposite. Council should do something about that issue. Amendment 1: Woolworths to work with Marrickville Council to do streetscape work to stop lights affecting this house. Amendment 2: Recognise this is a residential area & that residents do rely on this respite. 8pm is a reasonable compromise & recognizes residents’ amenity.   He thanked the resident regarding the issue of privacy. I am of a mind to raise a matter arising about how Marrickville Council compares & whether submitter details were passed on to Woolworths.

Staff: The Manager of Governance looks after this. My understanding is that certain details are always redacted. This is not my area, so I cannot comment.

Clr Macri: This is only a 12-month trail, so there is a lot of pressure on Woolworths in how they fit into the community. We are looking at a Plan of Management for that site & environs so they are appropriately managed. They are changing their status quo. Regarding the community safety issues; passive surveillance means there is less crime. With no people, there is a rise in crime. The liquor hours will be staying as they are. I am comfortable with a trial. I am happy to support the amendment regarding the streetscape opposite. I’d like a discussion with residents without first thrusting it upon them. We need to actually allow the full trial with the hours they are asking.

Mayor Haylen:  I appreciate the concerns of residents. Woolworths has an action plan re loitering, litter etc. I am satisfied on this front.  I am looking forward to shopping there on a Sunday. The shops around here told me they are looking forwards to more business too.  134 people are employed & an extra 6-hours allows more kids an employment opportunity.  If Woolworths doesn’t uphold its end of the bargain, they will be back in 12-months. I support amendment 1, but not amendment 2.

Clr Gardiner: I don’t support Amendment 1. It bothers me that an application can be ambushed. What does it mean – Woolworths to work with Marrickville Council? Stop headlight spill – which house? It’s half-baked & not thought through. The amendments should been discussed with staff.

Clr Phillips: Amendment change – That Woolworths work with Marrickville Council & local residents. I have faith that Woolworths want to do the right thing. The wording is vague. I would hope that Marrickville Council works with Woolworths & residents. I’ve driven out the Woolworths driveway 150 times. We are asking for approval for something that will have an impact on these residents. It is not half-baked.

Vote on Amendment 2 – Opening hours Sunday 8am – 8pm – For: Clrs Ellsmore & Phillips. Against: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Macri, Iskandar, Woods, Gardiner & Tyler. Lost.

Vote on Amendment 1 – streetscaping to stop headlight spill into a house – For: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Ellsmore, Phillips & Macri. Against: Clrs Iskandar, Woods, Gardiner & Tyler. Carried with Clr Macri’s casting vote.

Vote to approve the Motion for extended operating hours for Woolworths – For: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Ellsmore, Phillips, Gardiner, Tyler & Macri. Against: Clrs Woods & Iskandar. Carried.

Clr Phillips: Privacy Issue Arising: Motion that Council prepare a report about its consultation practices & personal privacy as to how they compare with other councils & comply with the law. Motion carried unanimously.

NOTE: Resident 3 told me he spoke with Council staff during 3 phone calls in May & after some initial inconsistent advice, he was told that Council does allow developers to view community submissions without concealing identifiers.

 

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Removal of these trees is a negative impact on the outlook of the Town Hall in my opinion.

Removal of these trees is a negative impact on the outlook of the Town Hall in my opinion.

Clr Phillips first brought the refurbishment of Marrickville Town Hall to Council in July 2011 as a Notice of Motion. See – http://bit.ly/1fmiFLL   A refurbishment plan was brought to the Council Meeting in November 2011. See – http://bit.ly/1jGIkkQ

The refurbishment was again on the agenda at last Tuesday’s Council meeting, 15th April 2014.

Mayor Haylen & Clrs Phillips, Leary & Iskandar were absent, so it was a 2:2:2:2 vote – 2 Labour, 2 Liberals, 2 Independents & 2 Greens who voted to remove all of the trees in the front & all but one tree along the Petersham Road side of Marrickville Town Hall.   Not surprising to me, but at the same time, quite distressing.

In November 2011 I wrote, ALL the trees will be removed & 3 ‘suitable’ street trees will be planted as replacements along the side of the Town Hall.  My guess these will probably be Ornamental Cherry trees to match what has been planted on both sides of Marrickville Road to the corner of Livingstone Road.  They are cheap to buy & absolutely useless to wildlife. 

The current trees along the exterior wall of the Town Hall building are 7 mature Pencil pines, 2 mature Cocas palms & 2 small Cocas palms & 1 mature Norfolk Island palm.  These trees, especially the Pencil pines, add to the grandness of the building & considerably soften the façade.

At dusk take a seat outside the library & listen. Literally thousands of small birds live in these trees & the sound of them settling down for the night is wonderful.  I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t like it.  Remove these trees & there will be an environmental impact, though I don’t know whether this has been taken into account in the environmental impact assessment. Certainly Council doesn’t care.

There are 2 mature, but small stature Pine trees in the front forecourt connected to the War Memorial & one 5-6 metre Pine tree in a planter box.  One of these Pines leans towards the pedestrian footpath, but doesn’t block pedestrian thoroughfare.  

This is a total of 15 trees to be removed & the replacement with 3 as yet unspecified species.  You can bet any money that these will be small stature trees that will not obscure the view of the building & probably deciduous.  The community will be left with a sterile box. A grand box, but sterile none-the-less.”

So what has changed 3-years later?   According to the business paper, arrangements are presently underway for a new Winged Victory statue to be made & placed on the war memorial column at the front of the Town Hall.”   Winged Victory herself was donated to the Australian War Memorial in late 2013.   Personally, I would have liked Winged Victory to be on permanent display inside the new Marrickville Library, especially as the ceiling of the building is so high & the front is to be mostly glass. She would have been spectacular in a safe place inside the entrance foyer & visible from the street. C’est la vie.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall.  Now she is going to Canberra.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall. Now she is going to Canberra.

A media release dated 22nd April 2014 says Marrickville Council will hold “an information session & presentation to update local residents & citizens on the future of the Winged Victory statue.”  

This is to be held on Thursday 1st May 2014, 6pm – 7pm at the Function Room 3, Council’s Administration Centre, 2-14 Fisher Street Petersham.

 

Stage 1 of the refurbishment of the Town Hall will cost $75,000 for the design & $500,000 for the works, which are –

  1. Repaving the forecourt – Matching paving will also be installed in front of the car park behind the Library, at the Library entrance & in the two car spaces, all located at the Petersham Road side of the Town Hall building. [The Petersham Road side already has ornamental brick paving].
  1. Furniture, including new seating. [I cannot find any furniture other than 8 new bench seats in the plans.]
  1. Relocating the bus stop to “improve sight lines.”
  1. Refurbishment of the War Memorial column & re-gilding of the honour roll names. [Great.  This is an important war memorial to many.]
  1. Landscaping comprised of –

–      Star Jasmine (native to E & SE Asia)to be used as a ground cover.

–      Hedges of Box Hedge (native to either England, Holland, Japan or Korea depending on the species used), Indian Hawthorn (native to Southern China) & Viburnum suspensum (native to Japan). [This combination of Indian Hawthorn, Box & Star Jasmine is already being used as the main landscaping feature.]

–      Two Tibouchina trees (native to SE Brazil) are planned for the back wall of the car park at the rear.

Can Council not use Australian native plants?

  1. And lastly removal of the “old conifers” – [that is to remove 13 mature trees]. One Phoenix palm will be retained. Another Phoenix palm will be transplanted to match the other. One tree fern will also be retained.
The plants in the garden will be the same as shown, but this Camelia will be removed.

The plants in the garden will be the same as shown, but this Camelia will be removed.

In 2011 Council planned to plant 3 street trees alongside the Library side on Petersham Road. The current plans have upped this to 6 street trees. There is no mention of what species the trees will be.

Two Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ conifers will be planted beside the War Memorial. These ultra-slow-growing conifers grow to around 3-metres tall with a 1.5-metre base in a tear drop shape.  I personally think Conifers are important trees to have around a War Memorial because of their deep symbolism.  However, two slender 3-metre conifers will not make much of a green impact for either the memorial or the forecourt.  There will be no shade.

While I have long considered the forecourt of the Town Hall to be an ugly mess, I cannot believe that part of the answer towards improvement is to remove the trees.

None of the trees growing beside the walls of the Town Hall touch the building. Neither have they created any visible damage to the building in the decades that they have been there.

This area will also be paved as well as in front of the car park.

This area will also be repaved as well as in front of the car park.

Only one tree causes a problem & that is the small conifer beside the War Memorial & next to the footpath. This tree leans towards the footpath, which although very wide in this section, is starting to be an obstruction. Pruning this tree is a simple job & will remove any obstruction.

I can see no reason other than someone with design powers has a personal preference to get rid of the trees.  One should ask whether this is a good enough reason to remove trees & habitat in these days of global warming, especially as the main feature of the refurbishment will be hard cold paving that will be used as an unofficial car park anyway. The proposed removal of the bollards will further assist car parking.

It is important to note that all work for the Petersham Road side of the Town Hall building is Stage 2 & is “subject to further allocations of funds, should Council decide.” In other words, the trees will be removed & we may wait years for the paving & ground level landscaping.  Since the community has waited years for work to be done on this important war memorial & for Winged Victory to be returned on two occasions, it is not unfair or unrealistic to think this may take a long time to eventuate or not happen at all.

Without funds being immediately available for the whole project, this may end up being like the avenue of trees from Sydenham Station along Marrickville Road to the Marrickville shopping strip that was promised by a Council vote in 2010, but still remains invisible.

Two Tibouchina trees will be planted at the back wall

Two Tibouchina trees will be planted at the back wall

To me this design will pretty up the floor of the site, while removing all the beauty & importantly, habitat. What will happen to the thousands of birds that sleep in these trees? They will have to go somewhere else, to fight out to the death over territories.

Biodiversity is a word Council uses that is cool when they want to do something good for the environment & to be fair, they have done very good things. However, one does not improve biodiversity by removing habitat & replacing it with paving & low hedges.

The only way the tree removal can be stopped is through a rescission motion.

Here is a short video I made of the Town Hall forecourt in 2011.  Nothing has changed, including the empty garden beds. See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFbCp6o0gs8

The red line shows how the tree can be pruned & return space to the footpath, instead of Council's choice to remove the tree.

The red line shows how the tree can be pruned & return space to the footpath, instead of Council’s choice to remove the tree.

Unofficial car park.  I counted 13 cars, & there were more parked on the footpath beside the building on Petersham Road.

Unofficial car park. I counted 13 cars, & there were more parked on the footpath beside the building on Petersham Road.  How much will it cost to pave this?

Unofficial car park.  Bollards will be removed offering more space.

Unofficial car park. Bollards will be removed offering more space.  

All these trees to go, except one Phoenix Palm.  None of the trees touch or have created visible damage to the building.

All these trees to go, except one Phoenix Palm. None of the trees touch or have created visible damage to the building.

This is what was proposed - 16-storeys, but not ethereal  like the images make out to be.

This is what was proposed – 16-storeys, but not ethereal like the image makes the tower out to be. Peer Review said the proposal would likely create a windy space, lack of shade due to limited shade trees …. a corporate image with little amenity.

Marrickville Councillors knocked back this development proposal, which many residents, including myself, believed would have killed Marrickville & set a precedent for many more tower developments.

I have cherry-picked some of the more interesting items in the ‘Post Gateway Report on Station Street Precinct Planning Proposal.’  It’s a large document that makes interesting reading & you can download it here (Item 27) – http://bit.ly/MyvniP

In essence the planning proposal for 2-18 Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue Marrickville sought to amend the Marrickville Local Environment Plan (MLEP) to change the zoning, floor/space ratio, as well as increase building height limits from 8-storeys to a whopping 16-storeys & develop 120 units & approx 510-sq-metres of retail floor space.

The developer also wanted to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (where they give something in return for consent) & this was to be a small plaza/courtyard area under the awning of the building & part of the above ground access to the railway station.  It was suggested this will be a great place for the community to meet & perhaps hold markets.

I have taken some of the comments from my post on the Council Meeting of 17th September 2013 & added them below.  To read all of what was said see – http://bit.ly/1cXSPwi

The Architect said at the September 2013 Council Meeting, “At the moment, it’s the hole of Marrickville.”

The speaker representing the owner said, “This masterplan provides new public space.  It’s an income providing asset, well-designed public space & a landmark building.  It does come at a cost of increased height to offset the public plaza.  Solar access are generally non-issues & no different to 8 storey building currently allowed.  An 8-storey building is not in the interests of the Marrickville community.”

The then Mayor, Clr Macri was particularly keen on the development saying,  “We shape the buildings & the buildings shape us. …. This building delivers great things for Marrickville. It’s a dynamic, inviting & exciting open space.  I want to see this happen.” 

The Proposal was sent to the Department of Planning & Infrastructure for a Gateway determination.  This was approved in December 2013.  The proposal was also sent for Peer Review & to Transport NSW.

Transport for NSW had significant concerns with the current draft concept plan.  Some of their concerns were –

  • Ease of access, lack of accessible car parking spaces close to the station, safe, logical access for all commuters, access for emergency service & maintenance vehicles, management of pedestrian thoroughfares & adequate management of stormwater.
  • They also found that the concept plan encroached in TfNSW land & this has not been consented to.
  • Importantly, the raised plaza is incompatible with the proposed Marrickville Railway Station upgrade.
  • TfNSW has also committed to funding public domain improvement works in Station Street, which may not be available if the raised plaza goes ahead.

Peer Review –

  • The area is too small to create a successful two level plaza approach.
  • Problems with Australian standards for access.
  • Regarding retail space – “Coupled with large building undercroft space, this would create an ambiguous space with negative microclimate & amenity issues.”
  • The proposal would likely create a windy space, lack of shade due to limited canopy trees, need for more soft landscaping & inclusion of seats & bicycle parking.
  • Security & safety concerns of commuters.

Also –

  • Suggested substantial amendments to “remove blank walls, dead spaces & excessive tiered stairs.”

Further –

  • Proposed building is over-scaled, overbearing & out of character.
  • No justification of a landmark building.  “The very notion of a landmark building is contestable in general.  ….the question should be asked; a landmark for what purpose?”
  • “The overall rationale is questionable.”
  • The plaza would “present a corporate image with little amenity.”
  • Location of public parking is inconvenient, poor passive surveillance & likely to be considered unsafe.

Also –

  • The proposed design is an overdevelopment of the site.
  • Significant visual & overshadowing impacts.
  • Public space compromised by sloped areas, stairs & building structure.
  • Laneway is too narrow & unsafe.
  • Plaza would be in shade for most of winter.
  • Lack of public benefit of a ‘memorial park’ at 2 Leofrene Street, as it is small & would be overshadowed by the building.
  • Height, bulk & scale would dominant views & is out of character.

I was not present, but received the following update from a resident who attended the Council Meeting.

“Attended the Council Meeting earlier this evening. [There were] three excellent speakers; Laura & Matt from Schwebel Street & Jeanette from Leofrene Avenue. The developers were in attendance, but did not speak.

Information from the Business papers follows;

Based on the findings (from Peer Reviews & Council Officers) & recommendations of the Peer reviews and with the benefit of the final plans for the upgrade of Marrickville Station this report recommends a revised option for the maximum development potential of the land.

Key features of the [Council’s] preferred option are:

  • Allow amalgamation of Nos 2-18 Station St, the eastern part of Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue & require the dedication of a 6m wide rear lane adjacent to No 3 Leofrene St
  • Retain Council ownership of the balance of Station St road reserve.
  • Upgrade the public domain of the existing street rather than construct a raised plaza structure.
  • No encroachment of the building onto or over the Council-owned reserve, &
  • Limit the building to a maximum height of 9 storeys.

Recommendation was that Council requests the proponent submit an amended planning proposal for Council’s consideration prior to public exhibition that addresses the issues & is consistent with the preferred option outlined in this report.

The Mayor [Haylen] added an amendment, which was related to integrating the station upgrade.

Greens South Ward Councillor David Leary moved an amendment that the building should be within the MLEP 2011.

The debate then spiraled downward. Clr Woods talked about Process.  Clr Gardiner

Clr Gardener had a go at the Greens for not voting for the LEP & now trying to use it & had a go at all those people who use social media to say bad things about him.

Clr Macri & Clr Tsardoulias talked about process & at length about how the Save Station Street group [a local residents action group] were all Greens stooges & they didn’t think it was right that people didn’t say nice things about them on Social Media, when they sent the proposal off to Gateway rather than follow Council Officers recommendation that Peer Reviews be conducted BEFORE sending to Gateway process.

Clr Hanna talked about how he talks to residents all the time and had been fined for speaking on his mobile about the development whilst driving.”

The votes supporting Clr Leary’s amendment to require resubmitted plans to comply strictly with the Marrickville LEP: Clrs Leary, Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Against: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Woods, Gardiner Gardener, Tyler, Hanna & Macri.

The votes supporting Council’s recommendation: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Woods, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardiner Gardener, Tyler, Hanna & Macri.  Against: Clrs Leary & Phillips.  Recommendation passed.

An Egret & three Cormorants resting on Fatima Island - September 2013.  It's not unusual to see Peilicans, Darters, Gulls, Herons or Spoonbills on the island.

An Egret & three Cormorants resting on Fatima Island – September 2013.   It’s not unusual to see Peilicans, Darters, Gulls, Herons or Spoonbills on the island.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.   Absent: Clr Iskandar.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERAL: Gardiner/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

Fatima Island Tempe – whether MC has an Erosion Assessment & Remediation Feasibility Study done at a cost of $25,000 –

Speaker 1:  For. I am a local resident & an Ecologist at the University of New South Wales. My doctoral thesis is on biochemical mediated interactions in aquatic communities & I am currently working on a wetland restoration project at Kurnell in conjunction with the Sutherland Shire Council & the Catchment Management Authority.

While Fatima Island is not listed as ‘Ecological Significant’ this does not mean that it does not provide valuable ecosystem services. Indeed if we only concerned ourselves with protecting ‘ecologically significant’ ecosystems, our community would be a very stark & bleak place to live.

The most obvious ecosystem service that Fatima Island provides is that of a bird refuge, but this is only one function of many. There are also intertidal & sub-tidal ecosystems to be considered. While Marrickville Council has undertaken wonderful work with rain gardens & the Tempe Wetlands to improve the health of the waterways, the bacterial communities of the intertidal & sub-tidal ecosystems of Fatima Island also play a part in the health of the river. Additionally the physical structure of the intertidal & sub-tidal region may provide additional habitat or nursery grounds for macro fauna.

There has been a spirited debate on the internet about the fate of Fatima Island over the past few weeks & I would like to place the ‘let nature take its course’ argument into an ecological framework. Yes ‘islands come & islands go’, but islands come slowly, rarely & in undisturbed locations, & I would love someone to show me the latest river island that has developed in the Cooks River, or even the latest river island that has developed in NSW.  And yes, Fatima Island will be affected by rising sea levels, but it will also be affected by changing tidal regimes & lower (and/or) higher rainfall conditions, as well as anthropogenic changes to our water run-off regime.  If the decline of Fatima Island was solely part of the natural cycle, & only being impacted on by ‘natural’ causes, then I would possibly agree with ‘leave it be’ mentality.  But it is not only being impacted on by ‘natural’ processes, & if we take the time to understand the geomorphologic & hydrological conditions around the island, we can plan a restoration that will allow Fatima Island to adjust & adapt to changing climatic & environmental conditions – a concept known as ‘planned retreat’.

Ecosystem function is not the only value Fatima Island has, & others have/will address the cultural & heritage value of the island. It may not be possible to address or save all three aspects of the Island simultaneously, however all three aspects have one thing in common.  Action needs to be taken sooner rather than later.  Recreating ecosystem function is much more expensive & less likely to succeed then preserving what we already have.  Cultural & heritage value cannot be recreated.

Speaker 2:  I did not take notes.  This person spoke in depth about the history of Fatima Island.

Speaker 3: When the Cooks River Valley Association (CRVA) started campaigning about Fatima Island just over 12-months ago, we got a strong response from people who have a history with the island.  In recent weeks this response has escalated, including various community groups – Marrickville Heritage Society, Wolli Creek Preservation Society, Saving Our Trees network, NSW Heritage Network, Catholic Parish at Tempe as well as a strong response from individuals who all see the significance of the island.  CRVA raised concerns that the island was not included in the Biodiversity Strategy or Recreation Strategy.  At the last Meeting of the Cooks River Alliance  CRVA we agreed that a letter be written to the Minister of Primary Industries.  I ask that you endorse spending.

Mayor Haylen:  Move motion to – 1. Receive & note.  2. Include Fatima Island in Biodiversity Action Plan. 3. Recognise that funding is unlikely.  4. Investigate funding opportunities & recognize the island as a significant site.  5. Proceed with spending the $25,000 for the report.  I recognise Clrs have concerns with this expenditure.  I’ve investigated using volunteers with the Tempe Motorboat Association.  We need a proper study done & to put our best case forward about the island’s preservation.  I’ve received hundreds of emails about Fatima Island.

Clr Leary:  I support.  I know some Clrs may be concerned about spending $25,000, but if we put into context, tonight’s demolition of two toilet blocks were budgeted at $25,000 each.

Clr Tsardoulias:  Put up an amendment to delete point 5 of Mayor Haylen’s motion – “Proceed with spending the $25,000 for the report” & write to Sydney Water asking for funding.  It’s the Cooks River.  $25,000 is a lot of money & I’m not comfortable spending this on a report.  The report will say, plant a few trees & leave it alone.  I want the state government to say yes & fix up Fatima Island, the banks, clean up the river & allow canoes.  Fatima Island is not part of my basic services. It’s state government services.

Clr Gardiner:  I endorse the amendment.  My concern is the report will say it needs to be saved & this will cost several million dollars.    I’d like to see a MC report to see if it really is of ecological importance.  We are seeing a very narrow interest group.  We should understand more before we raise expectations.  Clr Tsardoulias just supported spending rate-payers money on 4% affordable housing at the new Marrickville Library site.  It’s not our job to supply affordable housing & it’s not the rate-payers responsibility.

Clr Hanna:  Against the amendment.

Clr Woods:  We need to know what is happening to the island.  It’s not a decision to save yet.  We have been talking about the island for years.  [He then read from a bunch of old newspaper articles about Fatima Island.]  What the Mayor is suggesting is sensible.  I’m supporting the expenditure.

The vote for the Mayor’s amended motion – For: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Woods, Phillips, Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardener, Tyler & Hanna.  Against:  Clrs Macri & Tsardoulias.   The amended motion was carried.

Five Ibis, one Royal Spoonbill &; one Grey-faced Heron taking a midday break on what is left of Fatima Island, opposite Kendrick Park in Tempe.  October 2013.

Five Ibis, one Royal Spoonbill &; one Grey-faced Heron taking a midday break on what is left of Fatima Island, opposite Kendrick Park in Tempe. October 2013.

Bottle-Brush-flower-photo-by-Saving-Our-Trees

 

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.   Absent: Clr Leary.

Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

We got to Council early expecting a full-to-bursting Gallery on the night the new Mayor is elected as it was in the last 3-years.  Instead, there were plenty of empty seats, as only 21 people came to watch.

Mayor Macri gave a farewell thank you speech, as did outgoing Deputy Mayor Tsardoulias.  Then the GM acting as Returning Officer started the proceedings.

Cls Haylen & Ellsmore were nominated for position of Mayor.  The vote for Clr Haylen was the Labor Party, the Liberal Party & Independent Clr Macri.  The vote for Clr Ellsmore was the Greens & Independent Clr Hanna.  Clr Haylen was elected as the new Mayor for Marrickville.

Clrs Ellsmore, Brooks & Tyler were nominated for position of Deputy Mayor.  Clr Brooks withdrew.  Clr Tyler was elected as the new Deputy Mayor by the Labor Party, the Liberal Party & Independent Clr Macri.

Mayor Haylen gave a speech as incoming Mayor & then voting for committee positions commenced.  Every other vote thereafter was the Labor Party, the Liberal Party & Independent Clr Macri voting together (7 votes).  The Greens & Independent Clr Hanna voted together (4 votes).   The Greens were unsuccessful in gaining a committee position.

Congratulations to Mayor Haylen & Deputy Mayor Tyler.  Here ends the Report for this week.

This is what is proposed for Station Street beside Illawarra Road & Marrickville Railway Station.  16 storeys - 8 storeys above what is allowed in the Marrickville Local Environment Plan.

This is what is proposed for Station Street beside Illawarra Road & Marrickville Railway Station. 16 storeys …. 8 storeys above what is allowed in the Marrickville Local Environment Plan.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine. 

Note: MC = Marrickville Council.  MLEP = Marrickville Local Environment Plan 2011.  DCP = Development Control Plan.  VPA = Voluntary Planning Agreement.  JRPP = Joint Regional Planning Panel.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

I have covered as much as I could write during the meeting, as I believe this matter is really important for the community.

Planning proposal: 2-18 Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue Marrickville  – The proposal seeks to amend the MLEP to change the zoning, floor/space ratio & increase building height limits from 8-storeys to 16-storeys to develop 120 units & approx 510-sq-metres of retail floorspace.  They also want to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (where they give something in return for consent).  MC staff concerns are – excessive bulk of the building, impact on streetscape & townscape, the building dominating & encroaching public space & non-compliance with solar access provisions.  Staff recommended that the Councillors vote to engage consultants to have the proposal Peer Reviewed, which would bring their findings back to Council.

One resident spoke against the proposal:  I do not support selling to developers  to gain public space.  Height restrictions are 26-metres & they are taking it to 59-metres. The MLEP was meant to be 10-year urban control plan.  It appears that the MLEP is useless as it just gets amended to the detriment of residents. This proposal raises important issues.  No value to hire a consultant. You already have a plan for this site.  It’s too big, too bulky & doesn’t compliment streetscape.  There is no parking.  It will increase traffic & severely limit solar access.  What will stop developers to develop other areas in Leofrene Avenue?  The developer purchased the building in January this year.  Is the developer planning to sell to get a VPA?  Maybe MC could use the money to create what you can afford. A petition of 95 signatures was tabled.  You represent us, the residents & have a responsibility to act in our best interests. This is not one of them.

Peter Lonergan, the Architect:  In 2011 MC gazetted the DCP & 2-18 [Station Street] was one of these sites.  As the owners of the land we were required to incorporate what is in the Masterplan. The roads will remain with MC.  1200-sq-metre public plaza, give an additional lane for buses, 700-sq-metres retail & 120 units in 16-storeys, which will assist in developing community spaces.  I agree there will be increased overshadowing over Leofrene Avenue & Schwebel Street, but the public may benefit more.  We are requesting that this goes to the Gateway process to allow changes to the DCP, then allow to go to DA. It would greatly improve the centre of Marrickville.  At the moment, it’s the hole of Marrickville.

Speaker representing the owner:  This masterplan provides new public space.  It’s an income providing asset, well-designed public space & a landmark building.  It does come at a cost of increased height to offset the public plaza.  We had a VPA meeting with MC in March 2012 & a Councillor briefing in February 2013.   Solar access are generally non-issues & no different to 8 storey building currently allowed.  The cost of the public square is increased density. There is an urgency to coordinate with the Marrickville Railway Station upgrade.  An 8-storey building is not in the interests of the Marrickville community.  [meaning a 16 storey building is].

Mayor Macri:  Moved to submit to Dept Planning for Gateway process & engage a consultant to do Peer Review, & enter into a VPA.  Seek to amend the MLEP, start a design competition process & request coordination of development with upgrade of Marrickville Station.  APEC conference in Taiwan I just attended was interesting.  50% of people  live in urban areas. Within 20 years it will be 70%.  We shape the buildings & the buildings shape us.  The plan gives an outdoor area where people can interact & is creating an accessible transport interchange hub.  The comments about the MLEP…this was a broad-brush approach to give us an idea.  If people seek to amend that & go higher, they need to reapply.  This building delivers great things for Marrickville. It’s a dynamic, inviting & exciting open space.  I want to see this happen

Clr Leary:  Put up a foreshadowed motion to reject the proposal & invite the developer to put in a new design proposal that meets the criteria of the MLEP.  There was extensive community consultation for the MLEP.  This proposal is wholly outside the MLEP.  16-storeys at 59-metres is a joke if you look at what the current MLEP allows.  Mayor, if you wanted a 16-storey building, you could have debated when the MLEP was being decided.  The MLEP is law.  Leofrene Avenue is people’s homes & for the speaker to say it is a hole is offensive.  There are a whole lot of reasons why this proposal is wrong. It far exceeds the height restrictions in MLEP.  The community petition was signed by 95 residents in 48-hours.  How many residents will come forward over the next weeks or months?  I think you will see great opposition.  16-storeys – you will be able to see that from most of the LGA.  This is the Rockdalisation of Marrickville.   We want sustainable development consistent with the planning criteria we have developed. What do we get in exchange? Very little – a courtyard of little use.

Clr Gardiner:  Let’s lock the gate.  Can’t have development.  Can’t have progress. Let’s keep houses low.  Let’s not change anything.  Not in my backyard. This is the beginning of a planning process.  We might find that 59-metres is too tall or the impact on residents is too big.  Let’s consider it rather than saying no.  Clr Leary:  I invited them to stay within the MLEP.

Clr Ellsmore:  The residents’ response was – you can’t be serious!  None were speaking in favour of this building. The Greens support sustainable infill development. 8-storeys is high.  This is not what residents want.

Clr Phillips:  Greens are not against development, but we are for protecting the residents’ amenity without destroying streetscapes.  We were going to get it Peer Reviewed. Now we just send to Dept Planning. I’m pleased that the VPA has more information. It’s a sign the developer knows this is an overdevelopment.  It’s over double the height limit – from a 3.1 to 8.31 floor/space ratio.  I don’t think we have seen this before. This is like the CBD. We did consult with the community.  Now we are to disregard them?  The MLEP is not a broad-brush.  It’s a planning instrument & it’s law.  The last Council used to stay within the LEP, this Council disregards it.  This is spot rezoning.  If Macri & Gardener want highrise, let’s redo the MLEP & consult with the community.  We are not getting much. We are losing Station Street, getting a not large courtyard, which will be in shadow a lot of the time.  The ratepayers are being ripped off.  I think VPAs are a corruption of our planning provisions.  I am also not confident that MC will not be left with a bill to finish these works for quasi public space.  The solar access & shadow diagrams are not well produced. Many houses will be cast into shadow.  I agree Station Street is neglected.  The Greens put forward every year to get works done on this area.  I think this will be a poor civic space.  It will be a courtyard to this building.  They can build an 8-storey building & still make a profit. 

Clr Haylen:  Asked staff – is this fast tracking? Does it give away our planning powers? Staff:  Once endorsed by Gateway, it does become a MC planning proposal.  With peer review, no change in MC’s planning powers.  Back from Gateway would be in current form with some requirements for MC to amend the MLEP.  Gateway is first pass, but doesn’t amend the MLEP.  The proponent could go to the Director General & request MC not be the planning controllers.

Clr Tsardoulias:  It’s not a vote to build; it’s a vote of a process. It will be assessed by someone outside of this chamber.  No DA commitment. Not rezoning.

Clr Brooks: There is a process, but there is a variety of processes.  Staff recommend a bigger, better process to review before sending to Gateway.  There is an extra level of risk to send to Gateway & not take the recommendation of staff.  This is a huge betrayal of ratepayers for this financial risk.  It’s extraordinary to think Councillors think this is an acceptable proposal in this area.  It is more than double the height that was agreed on by our community.  Asked staff – will this go to the JRPP?  Staff:  If endorsed by Gateway, JRPP would not be the planning authority to amend the MLEP.  The DA would go to the JRPP.   [Mayor Macri is a sitting member of the JRPP].

Clr Leary: Does the VPA come back to MC for planning approval?  Staff:  MC owns the land & would have considerable powers. 

Clr Hanna: Are they going to give us money for height?  Staff:  An offer has been made, but not accepted yet.  Clr Hanna: The residents told me that they don’t let their kids come by train for safety.  They say: we are ashamed of Station Street.  I want to see safety & improve the look of the area.  This is the worst Station in NSW.  If this gets built the value of the property will go up.  I’m letting it go for tonight. 

Clr Woods:  I’m concerned to support Leary’s motion to reject.  I take solace that MCs report goes to Gateway.  Pg 373 says the proponent has the right to request a different planning authority.  Rejecting could surrender any planning control that we have. We need Peer Review.  This recommendation will allow MC to stay in the process.

Mayor Macri:  This is a significant site for Marrickville.   The Greens will vote for an 8-storey building.  Clr Leary:  That’s the MLEP.  Mayor Macri:  There is urgency with the Station upgrade.  I won’t accept Station Street unless it is first class. 

Vote to send to Gateway: Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods, Hanna, Gardener & Tyler.  Against: Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Carried.  Here ends the Report for this week.

A photo from papers given to the public at this week's Marrickville Council Meeting.  You can see how 16 storeys looks beside single storey houses.

A photo from papers given to the public at this week’s Marrickville Council Meeting. You can see how 16 storeys looks beside single storey houses.

Stand alone green wall along the railway line at Newtown.  Relatively cheap & easy to do, yet incredibly effective at greening & softening the environment.

Stand alone green wall along the railway line at Newtown. Relatively cheap & easy to do, yet incredibly effective at greening & softening the environment.  This kind of greening should be commonplace.

WI-FI – At last week’s Marrickville Council Meeting one of the papers concerned a wi-fi trial. This was originally to be in major parks across the municipality, but now Council have recommended the following locations –

  • Alex Travallion Plaza, Marrickville Road Marrickville
  • Jack Shanahan Park, Dulwich Hill
  • Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre, Enmore
  • Debbie & Abbey Borgia Centre – edge of Steel Park, Illawarra Road Marrickville
  • Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Camperdown.
  • Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown
  • Newtown Square & Art Seat, Newtown.

Council’s paper says the wi-fi will be available 24/7.  The issue was discussed in confidential session so I do not know the outcome.  See for the whole document, plus a map of all intended locations – http://bit.ly/11bemPG

GREEN WALLS & GREEN ROOFS – Clr Leary asked Questions on Notice concerning green walls & green roofs.  The responses from Council included –

  • Development of a ‘Green Roof & Green Walls’ chapter of the Development Control Plan (DCP) has been deferred pending further investigations “concerning the ability of Council to mandate environmental provisions” as well as “develop guidelines & standard conditions.”  These amendments to the DCP will be presented to the Councillors for approval “in the first half of 2014.”
  • Marrickville Council has examined what the City of Sydney Council put in place in June 2012 to promote green roofs & green walls.  They developed a strategy, a manual, ‘Green roof & walls in the local area’ & a perceptions study.  They do not mandate, but do encourage green walls & green roofs on new & existing developments to “soften the appearance of the city’s streets & villages & promote green walls & roofs in new buildings & development.”  They have encouraged both these in the Green Square Town Centre & the Harold Park development.
  • Rockdale & Newcastle Councils have some provisions within their DCP for green walls & green roofs.  “Newcastle Council also has some provisions for greening car parks with car parks mandated to achieve 50% green cover within 15 years.”
  • Marrickville Council estimates that over the past 4-years between 6-12 DAs for existing houses have included a green roof or green wall.

It will be fantastic if Marrickville Council does start to seriously encourage green walls & green roofs in Development Applications, especially as so much high-rise is planned for the area.  I’ll never forget the architect of The Revolution in development in Marrickville saying that he didn’t include anything green as there was no mandate to do so.  We will only get the beauty the Council demands.

Anything that softens buildings & makes living & public spaces less harsh will significantly improve livability.

Apart from their aesthetic benefits, green walls & roofs capture, retain, delay & divert water.  This is really important as Marrickville Council have said that we have reached the limit of our stormwater drainage capacity & this is before the 11,600 – 12,000 anticipated new dwellings.

Green walls & roofs also lower the urban heat island effect as well as reduce dust & air-born pollutants.  They can also lower the energy needs of a building & reduce outside noise by at least 40 decibels.  They improve on biodiversity & can provide habitat & food for urban wildlife.  One benefit I did not know is that green roofs are capable of reducing electromagnetic radiation penetration by 99.4% (Herman 2003).  On top of all this, green walls & green roofs increase the value of a property.

See the following link for the whole document – http://bit.ly/15cOP9j

Showing the footpath damage caused by this street tree outside 18 Cardigan Street Stanmore.  Photo by Marrickville Council with thanks.

Showing the footpath damage caused by this street tree outside 18 Cardigan Street Stanmore. Photo by Marrickville Council with thanks.  Sorry, I do not have a photo of the actual tree.

Clr Tsardoulias put up a Notice of Motion at the Council Meeting of 25th June 2013 –

“That Council removes the current tree & replaces it with a verge garden & an appropriate non-invasive tree to prevent any further damage to the resident’s property.”

The tree is a Jacaranda (Jacarand mimosifolia) outside 18 Cardigan Street Stanmore.

Council’s report says the tree is semi-mature & in good health & condition.

“Damage to the front step is evident as is some lifting of the footpath, but the damage is not considered excessive & could be reasonably repaired.  It is considered that the damage to the step is not a “significant” structure & that it can be repaired by reasonable & practical means enabling a healthy & viable tree to be retained.”

It was noted that the down pipe is not connected to the stormwater system & discharges onto the ground surface potentially encouraging root development towards the property.”

Council inspected the tree on 25th July [sic] & recommended that the footpath be removed so tree roots could be inspected.  They say that the tree root under the step could be cut & a root barrier installed.  The footpath removal was due to happen on 5th June, but Council waited until this Notice of Motion was dealt with in last night’s Council Meeting.

Council staff recommended that if the Councillors do vote to remove this tree, then two Jacaranda trees should be planted in its place, as there is room for two trees & to retain the streetscape, which is primarily Jacarandas.

They say it will cost an estimated $600 to remove the tree & grind the stump & $1,000 to replace the tree “and maintain for 12 months during the establishment period.” 

This is news to me because until recently newly planted trees were watered twice a week for a period of 12-weeks (3-months).  I have never heard of a 12-month establishment period so it looks like street trees will get watered for 12-months giving them a much greater chance of survival.  This is good news.

As for the tree outside 18 Cardigan Street, I was told that the vote was unanimous to remove this tree because it leaned towards the road & it damaged the property. Vote was Mayor Macri (Ind), Clrs Ellsmore (Grn), Leary (Grn),  Phillips (Grn), Tsardoulias (Lab), Gardiner (Lib) & Tyler (Lib).   There was a discussion about whether to replace with a Jacaranda or another species.  However, the resident did not want a Jacaranda.  Council will plant two trees & a verge garden is being considered.

A verge garden should be easy to create as it is a grass verge.  Let’s hope that the downpipe is connected to the stormwater drain to prevent the next street tree from seeking water & causing a similar issue that results in its removal as well.

Showing the damage to the step.  Photo by Marrickville Council with thanks.

Showing the damage to the step. Photo by Marrickville Council with thanks.

Approval to remove given on Tuesday night - tree removed by Marrickville Council sometime the next day.  Photo by poodle with thanks.

Approval to remove given on Tuesday night – tree removed by Marrickville Council sometime the next day. Photo by poodle with thanks.

Here is Cardigan Street. The orange witches hats on the left are where the tree was removed.  It is a shame that the streetscape will not be consistent by using Jacarandas as replacement trees, especially as it is such a lovely outlook.

Here is Cardigan Street. The orange witches hats on the left are where the tree was removed. It is a shame that the streetscape will not be consistent by using Jacarandas as replacement trees, especially as it is such a lovely outlook.  Photo by poodle with thanks.

 

 

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