The Bays Precinct – Planning Disaster pp 2-3 Glebe Grapevine July 2019

postcard against State Significant sites

By Cllr Jess Scully

I’ve only lived in Glebe for six years, and even in that short time, I’ve witnessed the confusion that surrounds the big plans for the Bays.

Many of you with longer memories than mine have masterplan fa-tigue: for 20+ years NSW Governments have stopped and started with plans for the Bays Precinct.

A 2014 report commissioned by the City of Sydney documents a long and checkered history, noting that “over the past 17 years there have been a myriad of strategic plans, policies and Master Plans developed for the Bays Precinct area which have set out various principles, ob-jectives and actions for the future redevelopment of the predominantly publicly-owned land.”

Five years later, there’s no sign of progress or greater clarity. Plans for the Sydney Fish Market – surely a crucial part of the Bays – are scheduled to be released before any masterplan. Community groups have been assured they’ll be released any day now.

Before the Fish Market is moved, or any other Bays projects devel-oped, we must call on the NSW Government to not start from scratch, but to go back through the masses of consultation for the Bays and to commit to the principles that have been repeatedly championed by the community: accessible open public space including sports fields, affordable housing, public transport options and pedestrian and cycle access, to be delivered using a holistic and strategic approach.

State Significant Precinct

As a “State Significant Precinct”, the Bays Precinct is subject to state planning controls, rather than Council oversight. This is part of a disturb-ing trend – more than 274 hectares of land in the City of Sydney alone have been carved out as State Significant Development (SSD).

The new NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, has spoken out against spot rezoning, saying “It’s no surprise that people get angry when things happen that they didn’t expect.” Swarms of SSD in our neighbourhoods are having the same impact: we must call on the Minis-ter to bring certainty back to the planning system and end the over-reliance on SSD.

Glebe, Ultimo and Pyrmont will soon come under siege by a number of major projects. In 2019, despite years of planning and masterplan-ning, there is no overarching vision, and these proposals fail to con-sider the cumulative impact of other state-led developments on our local area.

For over 15 years, the City has demonstrated our ability to plan, coor-dinate and assess large-scale development to balance growth and the amenity of residents. And what we see now is the gradual, but unmis-

takable, erosion of our role and planning responsibilities as a local government authority. It is deeply disappointing that residents can’t have the City of Sydney and our expert Central Sydney Planning Committee reviewing these large-scale developments on their behalf.

To echo the sentiments of Lord Mayor Clover Moore “We must work with our community to demand that the NSW planning system is over-hauled and reformed, that transparency and consistency are reintro-duced as guiding principles, that the same rules apply to all and for an end to the rampant overdevelopment that has been allowed un-checked.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please write to the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, and the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian calling for an end to State Significant Precincts and State Significant Devel-opments so that planning controls may be returned to local over-sight.

They can be contacted at the NSW Government Minister website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/ministers/ or

The Hon. G. Berejiklian, MP GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001

The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001

 

Should you have any other con-cerns or ideas for improving our community, please reach out to me at jscully@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au