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Eastwood Plaza-I think this is Wisteria. It is very beautiful & very welcome on a hot day

I’m a bit late with this, but I have just read Marrickville Matters.  I always like this magazine.  They have a nice article about trees on page 5.

For those of you who don’t know, Marrickville Council has launched My Place 2021 & they are asking the community to have a say about the new Community Strategic Plan. The plan covers many areas including environmental & development issues.   It hasn’t closed for comments & I’m not sure when this will happen.  Don’t let this opportunity to have your say regarding how you think Marrickville LGA should be over the next 10 years.  There have been a few comments, but not such that I would call great community involvement.  You can comment anonymously if you like.   I’ve yet to add my 2 cents worth.   http://myplace2021.com.au/

The DA for the old Marrickville RSL site corner of Illawarra Road & Byrne Street is back like the gift from our Auntie that we don’t like.  According to people I have spoken with, this newer version just brims with problems, including 5 areas of non-compliance. Frankly, the community are angry that their concerns have not been taken notice of by the developer & freaked out that it will be approved by the JRPP when it goes before them.

It’s all a matter of personal taste, but having looked at the plans, I think the building is ugly & without doubt, totally out of character for the area.  It’s like the developers don‘t take the community seriously.  “You are going to get modern so live with it!”

It looks like something from Pyrmont & despite this being an issue last time, there is NO minimal GREEN SPACE.

Are the developers thinking that this will be start-up housing before people move onto better accommodation?  If so, then in my mind, they are creating a future ghetto for Marrickville.  The developer says this development fits into Council’s future vision for Marrickville.  This belief is another reason why it is important to leave your opinion on My Space 2021.  Both the Councillors & Council staff need our input when designing our future.

The old Marrickville RSL site is the building in the centre of this photo (many of us will miss the tasteful poster). The building on the left is the only 4 storey building on Illawarra Rd, so at 9 storeys, the new development will be more than double in height

There will be 3 buildings at 6, 7 & 9 storeys meaning it will tower over the neighbourhood & block city views from Schwebel Street.  It will also bounce train noise from 3 rail lines back to Schwebel Street & the housing on the hill.  The people who live here say it is already very noisy, especially during the night.  The goods line is about to commence operating 24 hours a day.

The plans intend 17 studio units (I would have thought this type of housing wouldn’t be allowed anymore), 73 one bedroom units & 90 two bedroom units, a total 180 units.   The previous plans were for 128 units.  The community thought this was too big so they have returned with a plan for 180 units.

It has parking for 171 vehicles so they expect owners will not have cars.  There is 663 sq metres of retail floor space, enough for a supermarket, so I wonder where the shoppers are going to park.

It appears they have removed the RSL from the plan because of concern having shoppers & kids able to see drinking & gambling from the shops & added another 3 metres to the overall size.

There is a petition going around with hundreds of signatures & I urge you to sign it.  Once I know where it will be I will post the locations and date/times.  If you would like a draft submission, you can send me an e-mail & I will send you the draft which was sent to me.

You can download a copy of the DA at Marrickville Council’s website –http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/p190800/eproclaim/index.asp?request_url=ptgeApplications/ptgePublicNoticeAppsList.asp It is 12 down in the list for 359 Illawarra Road Marrickville.  You can also view in hard copy at Council’s Citizens Service Centre during business hours.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15th April 2010.

You will need to quote DA201000115, your reasons for objecting & provide your name & address (preferably your email address) & a contact phone number.

I sincerely hope that many people take the trouble to send in a submission.  This development is regarded by many as the test run.  If it gets through, then it signals what is okay for Marrickville LGA & we will get a lot more developments of this kind.  It won’t take long before our Inner West area is changed for the negative with ugly high-rise & masses of traffic congestion.

Everyone I have spoken with acknowledges development & housing is needed.  They just want it to blend into the neighbourhood, be greener in outlook, creative & not create towers & canyons that they feel will ruin the area.  I agree.

While I was writing this I watched the news which was outlining the proposed massive increase in population in NSW.  Isn’t it interesting how this topic has become accepted in our language in just a few months.  Everything else has followed, including the pushing of high-rise throughout Sydney’s suburbs.  From an idea, it’s become a ‘must.’

The evening opened up with an Extraordinary Council Meeting about our Sister City relationship with the island of Madeira, which was recently struck by flood & landslides killing 42 & injuring 250 people.

Discussion covered recognising the devastating effects of this & other recent natural disasters, Council’s poor financial position, the lack of financial capability to reciprocate to an equal level when representatives from Sister Cities visit Marrickville, the large numbers of Sister Cities we have & whether this should be reduced (imagine, “sorry sister, it’s goodbye”) & developing a policy regarding financial assistance to Sister Cities when Council is having problems financially supporting its own services.

The motion was carried to donate $5,000 from the Sister Cities budget to help with rebuilding the affected area. Mayor Iskandar had the deciding vote.

Then came the Development Assessment Meeting.  One wouldn’t think that DAs are interesting unless they directly concern you, but actually they are.

There were DAs for single block developments, shops & large residential housing.  The gallery was full & some residents waited for 2 hours to speak.  The following is my impressions & thoughts:

People from both sides feel quite passionate & emotional about DAs.  Some were frustrated by the time required for the DA process.

Local residents were concerned about developments they felt would significantly change the streetscape in terms of set-back & visual impact. Height, noise, parking, privacy & loss of light were other issues causing concern.

I have seen these issues raised many times both inside & outside Council meetings.  People who become involved by attending Council meetings, signing petitions or lobbying against certain DAs hold the streetscape of the Inner West in high regard & they want to retain it.  It appears that some people new to the area & developers want to build more modern buildings & this causes a conflict with the other residents.

Given that these developments are being built, I don’t think it will be too many years before the visual outlook of great chunks of Marrickville LGA will be significantly changed.  Unlike Haberfield, which has decreed no modern buildings will be allowed & heritage will be protected at all cost, Marrickville LGA does not seem to have a policy like this.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that if a DA ticks all the boxes, it is up to the councillors as to whether it gets approved.  Naturally, the Councillors have differing perceptions of taste & beliefs as to what constitutes appropriate outlook, as well as what should be knocked down.  Many cherished buildings considered heritage by the Marrickville Heritage Society & other authorities have been demolished over the years.

Last night one developer said the plans for a large  residential development were “unashamedly contemporary,” yet the area this development is situated is one of the most historical in the LGA in terms of housing, other buildings, parks, trees & other historical infrastructure. I see some box-like buildings plonked next to softer, filigree terraces, but I belong to Marrickville Historical Society, so of course I prefer the older buildings.

Only last week Paul Keating said on Lateline, “Well, I can’t teach you good taste” when speaking about the 60 storey glass hotel in red planned for a finger pier at Barangaroo. Interesting that I liked much of the proposed development, but not this particular building.

streetscape

I mention the issue of development & taste because our suburbs are changing.  Marrickville LGA is about to embark on major new development & much of it will be high-rise.  A lot will get through because the state government wants us to have housing for something like another 10,000 people & frankly Marrickville Council desperately needs the money which comes from Section 94 contributions (what the developers pay to Council).

The Councillors need our input either directly or via community lobby groups.  Mayor Iskandar said this in both Marrickville Matters & the Inner West Courier recently.  He also said that the changes coming would affect the community for at least the next 25 years.  If we don’t let the Councillors know what we don’t want, then we will have to accept what the developers give us.

Very soon, a DA for a Backpackers in Addison Road Enmore will come before Council.  This is a 130 plus bed establishment with 7 parking spaces, 2 of them designated Disabled Parking.  Is this of consequence?  Judging by the speakers last night & other recent community action regarding the proposed development on the old Marrickville RSL site, parking is a huge issue in people’s minds.  Council is passing DAs where residents question the parking ratio & sincerely believe parking opportunities will be worse with the new development.

It’s changing times.  Denser living will further impact on parking.  Backpackers often have sufficient funds to buy a car & most residences have at least one car & sometimes more than two.  Council & the government are encouraging public transport use, but living close to a railway station really doesn’t have much of an impact on vehicle ownership yet.  Perhaps later it will when petrol becomes costlier.  For now, there is the problem with a transport system that is already deemed inadequate.  It’s all food for thought.

Moving to trees, a DA at 23 West Street was passed last night.  This site will have 8 double storey modern townhouses built on a block where there are two 9 metre Council protected Canary Island Palm trees & a Fiddle Leafed Fig tree on the boundary of the back property.  Council’s own report stated that Canary Island Palm trees only live for 15-40 years so the development would ‘outlive’ them.  In fact, these trees generally live for 150-160 years, which is an enormous difference.

The Councillors agreed these 2 trees will be relocated to the back of the development, stipulating the root protection zone of the Fig tree will also be protected.  This is a good thing, though I’m sorry we will lose the Palms from the streetscape, which has or is about to lose 31 trees on the opposite side of the street.  Change.

It was good to hear that Palms relocated at Enmore Park for the swimming pool development are doing well.

Another DA passed was 63 Grove Street St Peters which will erect 34 double storey dwellings.  2 mature trees will be removed, yet the landscaping is great.  They intend to plant 10 trees capable of growing to 15 metres, 19 trees reaching 5 metres, 9 trees reaching 7 metres, 10 trees reaching 8 metres & 46 trees reaching 5 metres.  94 trees in total.  They also intend to preserve the current street trees.  I wish all developments planted this percentage of tall growing trees.

One final point of interest is that various sites across Marrickville LGA are considered contaminated, so don’t eat the dirt.  There is some serious toxic stuff around from poor industry practices in the past & dumping.  Like toxins that live on to create problems decades later, we need to think if an upcoming development will also be like that & whether we want to be involved in community consultation to shape our community for the better.

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