Our Bays, Our Say is the theme for a public meeting which aims to set the future direction  for development of the foreshores in Glebe and nearby areas. The meeting has been arranged by community groups including the Glebe Society  and representing Pyrmont, Ultimo, Glebe,  Annandale and Balmain. It will be held a the Bistro in the Wentworth Park grandstand at  7pm on Wednesday, 7 July.   

‘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 secretary@glebesociety.org.au.  

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.