‘We want to make this meeting a high profile event to strengthen our capacity to influence the one-off developments that are already approved by Government,’ said the Convenor of the Blackwattle Cove Coalition (BCC) and chair of the meeting, John Brooks.
‘We also need to keep alive the long-awaited commitment by the Government to move towards an integrated and far more strategic approach to planning for the Bays Precinct.
‘We have a once in a century opportunity to do something wonderful with 80 hectares of publicly owned land, five kilometres of Sydney Harbour foreshore and major heritage items with exciting adaptive potential, most notably the White Bay power station and the Glebe Island Bridge.
‘We must not allow Government or others’ interests to squander this opportunity to properly plan a major phase in the ongoing transition of Sydney Harbour to its post-industrial future.’
The community campaign for the Bays Precinct grew out of a decision by the State Government to establish a Government task force to develop a plan for the Bays Precinct. In addition to the foreshores from Pyrmont to White Bay the precinct includes the disused White Bay power station, the Rozelle railway marshalling yards, and the former car ferry wharves.
In June 2009, the Minister’s Bays Precinct Community Reference Group (CRG) was formed to provide formal advice to Government. On 1 March 2010 the group delivered a set of strong planning principles for the Bays and, in addition, a preliminary set of ideas for future integrated uses of the Bays Precinct consistent with these principles.
In its report the CRG urges the Government to put a hold on one-off, ad hoc evelopments until an integrated vision/plan for the Bays can be developed and to ensure that the one-off developments that are to go ahead (e.g. the passenger cruise terminal proposed for White Bay, the Bridge Road wharves,the Fish Market and Bank Street developments) are implemented in a way that is consistent with the CRG planning principles.
The organisers of the 7 July meeting believe they have done well to have ‘hung in’ during a sometimes difficult consultative process and to have achieved a wide consensus around this advice. They now face the formidable task of persuading the Government to act on it.
Glebe Society President Lesley Lynch said that now that the CRG had been disbanded, the community groups expected the Government to reconstitute an effective community advisory committee as part of its promised Stage 2 process in the second half of 2010. ‘But there does not seem to be much clarity yet about what this Stage 2 will constitute,’ she said. ‘In the interim, we have begun post-CRG campaigning.
‘The public meeting on 7 July is being organised by community groups that participated in the CRG. They include The Glebe Society, Pyrmont Action, Pyrmont Progress, Blackwattle Cove Coalition, Balmain Association, Annandale Association, Sydney University Women’s Rowing and the White Bay Joint Steering Committee.
‘At the meeting we will seek community support for a resolution demanding that the Government:
a. establish Stage 2 of the Bays Precinct Process with effective community input, and leading to a strategic plan;
b. apply CRG Principles when considering projects which have been given initial approval (eg the cruise passenger terminal – wherever it is; Bank Street; the Bridge Road wharves development in Blackwattle Bay); and
c. establish a dedicated Bays Precinct Authority.
‘It won’t be easy,’ said Lesley. ‘But the time for action is now, and we need wholehearted community support to make it work.’
Some significant points from the CRG Principles
Integrated Future Planning
• No more one-off, ad hoc planning decisions by State Government or other planning authorities.
• All future planning and development decisions relating to the Bays Precinct to be on the basis of the agreed principles and an integrated strategic plan for the whole Precinct incorporating a long term (about 20 years) vision.
Priority and Precedence for the Public Good
• Protect remaining public ownership of foreshores and harbour from further alienation by sale or long term lease for private use and restore headlands and heads of bays to the public.
• The Bays Precinct (as a part of Sydney Harbour) is to be recognised as a public resource, owned by the public, to be protected for the public good.
• The Bays Precinct foreshore lands to remain in public ownership for the benefit of the local and wider community.
• Leases on publicly owned lands and buildings limited to medium term (about 30 years) except where the lease provides for public use.
Access, Open Space and Recreation
• Creation of continuous public access to the foreshore (except where precluded by health, safety or security issues) including open space corridors for pedestrians and cyclists along the waterfront, wharves, the White Bay powerhouse and the Rozelle railway yards, as a vital part of the planning process.
• The setback of any development fronting the Bays with a building line of not less than 20 metres from the foreshore.
• Exclude private housing from direct foreshore frontage and restrict housing to a lower order priority within the Precinct.
• Housing is considered to be a lower order priority within the Precinct (except for within the Rozelle train yards site).
Built Form and Design
Ensure development manifests design excellence by:
• Developing/redeveloping at a compatible scale at interfaces with the adjacent neighbourhoods.
• Ensure the bulk, scale and location of buildings consider local views into, over, through and from within the Precinct, and conserve and, where possible, extend significant views.
Where to find more information
An article by Lesley Lynch about the Bays campaign was published in Bulletin 3/2010 and is available on our website, with links to the CRG report and executive summary, by clicking here.
In addition, hard copies of the executive summary are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about what is happening in the Bays Precinct, browse to Major Current Issues > Bays and Foreshores on the homepage of this website.