Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays are unique in Sydney Harbour and more akin to a lake system, with a narrow, shared entrance that permits only a slow exchange of water with the main harbour. Their ecology is especially fragile and has suffered great damage from industries of earlier years. Restoration of water quality in Rozelle and Blackwattle Bays has been a long slow process, now showing signs of success.
The Glebe Society recognises that the unique attributes of these twin waterways must be shared with others in the city. But these additional users must not be allowed to destroy the special qualities of the twin bays. The Society’s Bays and Foreshores Policy seeks “passive” uses which would be:
- appropriate uses
- considering the attributes of the waterfront
- maximising views to and from the water, and
- maximising the quality of use.
The Glebe Society has a long history of effort with Leichhardt Council, residents and other interest groups, to improve the public amenity of Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays
Patience and persistence, over three decades, has seen foreshore turned from untidy timber yards to parkland and the bays remain, substantially, open water.
New challenges will arise with the interpretation and implementation of the recently Gazetted Master Plan for Rozelle and Blackwattle Bays. TGSI has expressed strong opinion on many issues covered by this plan, summarised in seven key points:
- Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays must not be made “places of last resort” for industries now housed in other harbour sites where local communities oppose them.
- A suitable site must be quarantined from commercial bidding to provide a permanent home for the Heritage Fleet’s workshop and steamers.
- The Glebe Society believes the potential exists to create a Heritage Precinct based on Glebe Island Bridge and the Heritage Fleet.
- Strict noise and emission controls must be enforced on new industries and port roads.
- Since the requirement for berths for visiting ‘super yachts’ to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games no longer exists, vessels berthed in Rozelle Bay should lie alongside wharves to minimise the loss of water area.
- Rowing regatta courses must be designated. Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays have more than a century of rowing club history.
- Home unit developments will soon increase the immediate area’s population by tens of thousands of people. They will need greater recreational facilities, including water space.