Some of the most significant changes of 2017 have had no direct impact on Glebe, though they will certainly have flow-on effects. WestConnex will not go near Glebe, though its impact on some nearby suburbs is already obvious. We have opposed the proposal from the beginning, as it is clearly just another version of the radial inner city expressways that threatened such destruction in the 1960s-1970s. Improved public transport is the only lasting and satisfactory answer to the needs of commuters.
The Greater Sydney Planning Commission plans also suffer from lack of detail about transport and infrastructure, but it looks as though the City of Sydney already meets most of the requirements for future development. However, it remains a concern that the increasing costs associated with the extension of Light Rail appear to be having an impact on the capacity of the City to meet its obligations as far as the masterplan for the Johnston’s Valley parklands are concerned. It is puzzling that Light Rail in Sydney is so expensive. It has been provided faster and cheaper in other cities.
We are also lucky to have escaped the shambles resulting from forced council amalgamations. Though some councils have been amalgamated, often without sufficient regard for consequences, others have successfully appealed against amalgamation, so the overall situation is probably at least as inequitable as before, and possibly more confused and chaotic, while major decisions are being made before the council elections due in two month’s time, while the people are unrepresented. City of Sydney has been through this process once before, in 2003, and one can only feel for our previous municipality, Leichhardt, in having to go through it.
The last Harold Park housing block is nearing completion, though work on the affordable housing block has not yet begun. The Tramsheds continues to gather awards and plaudits, but the City is dragging its feet on completion of the park and community space.
Work on the former Government Garage site on Wentworth Park Rd is well advanced, including footpath widening and planting, and there are final approvals for the controversial mixture of private/affordable/social housing (total 500 dwellings) on the adjacent Cowper St and Bay St site. The decision to replace the former Remand Centre at the rear of Bidura with 82 dwellings is now in the hands of the Court.
Proposals for a revamped Fish Market are a regular occurrence. Nevertheless, there is at least a chance that the most recent announcement may come to fruition. The important thing to watch out for is actual plans, which have previously never eventuated. Watch Lesley Lynch’s column to see what their impacts are likely to be.
The fact that proposals for the Bays, including the Fish Markets, are taking such a long time to emerge should not distract us from their dominance in future development. The sheer area involved, sixty hectares, dwarves even nearby future development along Parramatta Rd, which is also more distant in time and location. Meanwhile the State Government’s push for greater high rise apartment development will have repercussions over large areas of Sydney.