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Leichhardt. Photo taken July 2017. This is what will be happening in Sydenham, Marrickville and Dulwich Hill.

The plan for Marrickville. It is a lot of high-rise.

We went to last night’s public meeting held by Inner West Council regarding the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy Revised.  Marrickville Town Hall was full with plenty standing at the back.

The meeting was called to inform the community about the NSW State Government’s revised plans & Council’s great concern about the plans.

The revised draft Strategy increases the number of proposed new dwellings at Sydenham, Marrickville & Dulwich Hill to 8,500.   Broken down this will be –

  • Sydenham Station Precinct – 500 new homes
  • Marrickville Station Precinct – 6,000 new homes
  • Dulwich Hill Station Precinct – 2,000 new homes

[ This does not include the 750 new dwellings at the Victoria Road Precinct that just received approval.  Nor does it include the 2,400 new dwellings planned for the Carrington Road Precinct.  ]

It was at times hard to hear the speakers & my notetaking skills are poor these days, so I will write the points down that I managed to catch.  All mistakes are mine.  Inner West Council did video the proceedings so that the community can learn of what is planned for the area, so I will post a link if I come across it.

The Administrator Richard Pearson opened the meeting. 

  • The original plans came out in 2015. These plans have significant changes.  There are higher density & higher infrastructure issues.
  • 8,500 new dwellings will be approximately 20,000 new people.
  • As a Town Planner myself, there are some serious issues from high-rise around Marrickville & Dulwich Hill Railway Stations where it bleeds into suburban areas.
  • The scale of renewal is major. There needs to be parks, schools, greenspace & drainage, plus other infrastructure needs.
  • I was surprised at the closing date of 3rd September when the council elections are on 9th
  • It is important that the elected Councillors can make submissions. I asked the government that they can put in a supplementary submission & was told verbally that they will be allowed to.  I am waiting for this in writing.

John Warburton – Deputy General Manager Community & Engagement

  • Our LGA has three areas along the corridor.
  • This is not part of a broader planning scheme leading to a lot of issues.
  • Lack of practical efforts to make suburbs livable.
  • No funding plan to pay for infrastructure.
  • There is a loss of too much character & fabric of the Inner West.
  • No building designs yet, only maps.

Sydenham –

  • Increase of 500 dwellings.
  • Gain 700 jobs.
  • High-rise near Frasier Park.
  • Inner West Council is concerned about loss of industrial land.
  • There is a proposed new plaza in front of Sydenham Railway Station.

Marrickville –

  • There is a lot of density for Marrickville.
  • A lot of high-rise.
  • 555 jobs.
  • The difference between the Local Environment Plan & the Corridor is profound.
  • 2,000 extra dwellings for Leofrene & Schwebel Streets.
  • Proposed central plaza opposite the railway station.
  • Council has a lot of concern about the loss of single storey housing.

Dulwich Hill

  • Slight reduction of 59 dwellings from original plan.
  • 5-8 storeys planned for Hercules & Terrace Roads.
  • Nothing addressed on how to pay for infrastructure.
  • No idea how to find open space.

Jo Haylen MP Labor

  • The plans do not reflect our community.
  • They have not been written for us. They have been written for developers.
  • No sustainability.
  • The State Government knows we are a fighting community. We won’t take it lying down.
  • Marrickville & Dulwich Hill are being asked to take far too much density – an extra 6,000 new dwellings up from 4,000.
  • In Marrickville South the plan ignores the heritage value of the area.
  • Marrickville is a heritage suburb. The government’s studies did not include The Warren.
  • No targets for the cost of housing.
  • Many of the houses to be bulldozed were affordable. This will change the face of Marrickville.
  • Dulwich Hill – 561 submissions against the original plans.
  • Only a reduction of 59 dwellings.
  • The Greek Church & the Maternity Hospital are to be demolished. There is a heritage impact.
  • Lack of provision for schools, open space, new services for the 100,000 new residents for the corridor.
  • The government should build the infrastructure we need before building the corridor.
  • If the Metro line goes ahead it will be built 8-years after the corridor.
  • They should be prioritizing Sydney areas that are under-serviced.
  • No money for schools, no money for Canterbury Hospital.
  • No Affordable Housing or Social Housing.
  • Sporting groups have trouble finding places to play.
  • No new open space. Linear parks & plazas to be delivered by developers as ‘in kind.’

Mary O’Sullivan – Save Dully Spokesperson

  • Only 4 areas in Dulwich Hill subject to heritage analysis in revised plans.
  • The Uniting Church at Constitution Road to be developed.
  • Maternity Hospital in The Parade to be developed. It’s a beautiful building.  No doubt in its heritage.
  • Hercules, Terrace & Constitution planned for 8-storeys. There are early examples of wooden Federation houses here.
  • Riverside Crescent planned for 5-storeys.
  • Open space – a small extension for Jack Shanahan Reserve & a Greenway extension along the Metro, plans to turn the last 4 holes of the Marrickville Golf Course into open space & access to open space at the primary school.
  • ‘The Hill’ is the Dulwich Hill Railway Station parking. So, where will people park?
  • The government says there will be no commuter parking along the Metro.

Peter Olive – Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance

  • We are against the overdevelopment along the corridor & against the Metro train line.
  • The Metro is a waste of tax-payers’ money.
  • This is a privatization of an existing service, a good functioning part of a rail network.
  • It’s an abdication of responsibility to provide public transport in Sydney. Many places do not have a train line.
  • There are a number of decisions targeting the Inner West – WestConnex, the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor, privatising the buses….

Kelsey – Save Marrickville South spokeperson

  • We have 4 points for the government.
  • 1. No higher than 3-storeys next to single storey houses.
  • 2. No higher than 5-storeys in Carrington Road Precinct.
  • 3. Plan infrastructure before approving building heights. Plan schools, open space, roads & parking.
  • 4. Keep Marrickville’s character & streetscapes.
  • Don’t be fooled with the yellow areas on the map. They are labeled low-rise of 2-3 storeys, but they are in the 4-storey area within 500-metres of a railway station.
  • Bright red is 8-storeys. If the developer gives up some land for open space it could be taller.
  • There are 8-storeys next to single storey family homes.
  • Carrington Road development is already in advanced planning stages with Inner West Council & the developer wants higher. It may not be part of the Marrickville Precinct & may increase population density above the plan.
  • Up to 25-storeys will block the light from Mackey Park & Tempe.
  • The parks are linear & along the rail line & the storm water drain.
  • Many of us chose to live in this area because of the character.

At this stage, we left the meeting.

For me it was great to hear professionals from Council & ex-Marrickville Councillors expressing the same concerns I have & more.  I have found on Facebook attempts at discussing development in the Inner West are effectively shut down by name calling & citing the need for Affordable Housing & not spreading Sydney even further.  The fact that $615,000 for a 25-sq-metre studio apartment in Marrickville is nowhere near affordable does not get a look in.  So, to sit & listen to eloquent, sensible & affirming speeches from across the political spectrum was good.

The fact is Inner West Council is seriously concerned at the future livability of our area.  This should speak volumes to those nay-sayers who do not want development discussed.  If the plans are not modified, we will find ourselves living in an over-populated area, with poor amenity & with services unable to cope.  Schools, childcare are at capacity now.  The sewerage system was at capacity a few years ago.

The former Marrickville LGA, where the development is happening already has the lowest percentage of green space of any municipality in Australia.  Add 20,000 plus new residents….it will be wall to wall people in the parks.

We all need to send in a submission.  While 561 submissions from the people of Dulwich Hill is commendable, the government must receive thousands of submissions if this community wants to be heard.

You can find Save Dully on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/save.dully/

Save Marrickville South on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/SaveMarrickvilleSouth/

The Save Marrickville South submission can be downloaded here —  https://goo.gl/forms/xkmwo3IQ338WRyXG3

You can go online & write your own submission here – http://bit.ly/2tfjnMv

The deadline for submissions is Father’s Day Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Full with people standing behind me.

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16-storeys was proposed at Marrickville Railway Station in 2014 and the community thought this was way too high. Now developers are going for 19 storeys on both sides of the road.

Last Sunday we attended a public meeting arranged by the Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance ( www.sydbankalliance.com ) to learn about & discuss proposed developments along the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor, comprising 11 precincts along the 13.5 km corridor & the Metro line.

Herb Greedy Hall in Marrickville was packed with no standing room to spare.  Some ex- Marrickville Councillors were there.  NSW Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi was the only politician who attended despite invitations being sent to “a tonne of politicians.”

The official speakers were from the Rail Tram & Bus Union, EcoTransit, Friends of Erskinville & the Hurlstone Park Association.  Other representatives from Save Dully, Better Planning & Canterbury also spoke.

It’s been so long since I attended Council Meetings I have lost my ability to take notes fast.  The following is what I managed to write down.  My additions are shown as [  ].  All mistakes are mine.

  • Marrickville Council did a Local Environment Plan review (LEP) to set the development levels.
  • For the LEP the Council & State government decided to increase dwellings across the whole Marrickville municipality by 5,000 to the year 2031.
  • Then the state government added a further 6,000 dwellings in Marrickville & a further 2,000 in Dulwich Hill – more than what was planned for the whole LGA.  
  • The State government Gateway project just gave approval for a further 800 new dwellings at the Victoria Road Precinct in Marrickville. [Do your sums.  This is horrendous.]
  • We already have a train line. There are lots of places across Sydney with no train service.  The Metro is privatised & will cost more.

New speaker –

  • The Metro is not about public transport. It is about over-development. If it were about public transport it would not go along a current rail line.
  • An article in the Sydney Morning Herald 29 June 2017 said there was a push for Australia to become more like Asia.
  • The government calls it an upgrade, but it is a downgrade.
  • It is described as urban renewal, but it is a destruction of a community.
  • The Metro trains are less safe than a current double decker trains. The crash-worthiness of the new Metro trains is not good.
  • There will be shorter trains initially with 10% less seats than currently.
  • The proposed travel time between Bankstown & Sydney will be 26 minutes, 1 minute slower than the old Red Rattlers.
  • The Labor Party has not come out with a position regarding the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor & Metro Line.

New speaker –

  • The Canterbury development now is a fulfilment of the LEP gazetted in 2012. In 2012 the Council factored in the public transport needs into the LEP.  What we are talking about now is more development on top of the LEP.  It is all about development.
  • The government has not provided a detailed business case, which was noted by the Grattan Institute.

New speaker –

  • There is a lack of transparency in costings.
  • An unprecedented number of community action groups show the opposition to the Metro line & the over-development.
  • Canterbury Road is like a car park already.
  • The high-rise is a poor design uality that will destroy streetscapes & the quality of life & amenity.
  • The public has had no input to plans & the government threatens to take over all planning.
  • The local councils are critical & the locals are suffering.
  • The Hong Kong Model is not appropriate for Sydney.
  • There are no plans for new schools or public buses.
  • The only plan is to rezone the land for developers.   This will lead to the slums of tomorrow with a high price tag.
  • No social housing is included.
  • 20-30% profit is expected.
  • The Metro will lead to a lowering of the tree canopy, heritage, green space, character & quality of life.
  • This project is divisive.

New speaker –

  • Currently there is a move to privatise all Inner West buses.
  • There is nothing wrong with the Bankstown train line. It is not as overcrowded as the Western line.
  • The real issue is there will be no drivers, no guards, no station staff & a lot less seats. It is not about improving services.
  • It is a major Hong Kong property developer developing the Metro line & the housing corridor. All profits will go back to Hong Kong shareholders & the Hong Kong government.  Sydney will be subsiding a foreign government.
  • We have already lost the Sydney Ferries to privatisation. They are pushing to get rid of some of the ferries for smaller ones.
  • The buses are privatised in Newcastle.
  • Region 6 buses are up for sale.
  • It’s increasingly difficult to run a car in this city. It’s even harder to run a bus.
  • The big issue is that people will lose their homes. If development potential was met, 5,000 existing homes, many of them heritage, will be lost.

New speaker –

  • Garden suburbs are being destroyed. Lots of heritage is being lost & will be lost.
  • The developer wants 15 new priority precincts to be announced every year.
  • We have gone from mining to development to sustain this country.
  • A recent Financial Review article warned – proceed with caution on rail privatisation.
  • Read the new plan. We must write submissions & get friends & neighbours to do so as well.
  • They want to build 19 storeys on either side of Marrickville Railway Station. 

New speaker –

  • The area between Canterbury & Bankstown has the largest amount of low income housing in Sydney. The developments will not be for low income people.  This will destroy our community.
  • The Mayor of Blacktown wants to install rail lines across the greater west so people can work there instead of the CBD.

My impression was that this crowd was unhappy with the plans & extremely worried about the destruction & over-development of the area, with the loss of heritage & the look of the streetscapes.

Seems Inner West Council & the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council are not happy either, judging by an article in the Sydney Morning Herald titled, ‘Push for elected councils to have say on plans for 35,000 new homes along Bankstown train line.’  See – http://bit.ly/2sOVnw7

Some points from the article –

  • “Administrators for the Inner West Council and the City of Canterbury Bankstown have criticised the decision to close consultation on the plan to build 35,000 new homes along the existing Bankstown train line on September 3, six days before elections are held to replace administrators with councillors.’ This means local councils cannot put in submissions. Now I would think that, if the government believed what their planning was good, they would not lock out local councils from being part of the consultation process & having their say.
  • “The plans indicate more than 30,000 dwellings are proposed to be built along the rail line, but the only new open space suggested is a linear cycle way,” said City of Canterbury Bankstown administrator Richard Colley. Active and passive open space areas for a good deal of the corridor are undersupplied – even for our existing communities.” I would like to remind you that the former Marrickville municipality has the least green space in Australia.   A bit of green along the Metro line will not cut it when there will be many thousands of new dwellings & a significant increase in the population.
  • Both Mr Colley & Mr Pearson mentioned the need for 40 more schools, upgrades to two hospitals, storm water management [Marrickville municipality was at capacity a few years ago], additional roads & transport. What fun.  It is not hard to envision the loss of amenity.

In a Press Release from Inner West Council dated Thursday 29th June 2017 the following is especially of interest –

  • “One of the aspects of the initial draft that was supported by Council was the promise of new jobs.  But the revised draft has 1,200 fewer jobs, with no explanation. This is disappointing, especially as it is inconsistent with the State Government’s own principle of jobs closer to home.”  See – http://bit.ly/2uPOdc6

In another article from The Conversation titled, Market-driven compaction is no way to build an ecocity,’

  • “Market-driven intensification has in many places permitted a fracturing and ransacking of urban value and amenity, and of human wellbeing, by development capital that has worn the thin robe of legitimacy provided by the compact city ideal. We might summarise this as “urban fracking”: a new means of blasting through accumulated layers of material and symbolic value to extract profit.”  See – http://bit.ly/2uQfXgU 

Yet another article titled,Proceed with caution’ on rail privatisation, UK infrastructure investors warn.’ See – http://bit.ly/2ucL9ZK

  • Britain’s rail networks was “not seen as a great success”. The British government was forced to reassume control of overland rail networks following fatal accidents due to poor maintenance after the networks were privatised in the mid-1990s, while government agency Transport for London took over the running of the London Underground after the public-private partnership running it collapsed in 2010.”

You can download plans for the the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor here – http://bit.ly/2u7qI0A

The deadline for submissions is Sunday 3rd September 2017, which incidentally is Father’s Day, so get your Dad to put in a submission too.  If we sit back & do nothing, then we essentially consent to radical & perhaps ugly changes to our neighbourhoods.  Nothing is set in stone.  The government will only make changes if enough of the community demands it.

This is the motion put up at the end of the meeting and carried unanimously. Click to enlarge.   Thank you to the Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance for allowing me to share it here.

This is Alexandria from the oasis that is Sydney Park. Alexandria is only part way through being redeveloped and is a good indication of what the development will look like along the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor.

Development along very busy Canal Road in Alexandria is a good example of what is being built for housing these days.    The building comes right to the footpath.  Having no buffer zone between the cars and the housing is is not healthy living for residents in my opinion and that of a whole bunch of researchers into pollution and health. 

 

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