The deadline for submissions in response to the DAs for the redevelopment of the Sydney Fish Market (SFM) was 13 November 2019. The Society’s submission concentrated on the following issues:

  • A lack of an acceptable financial business case that justifies the additional expenditure of building over water versus redeveloping the current land site.
  • The early release of the SFM proposals prior to the finalisation of the master plan for the Bays Precinct, due to be completed in 2020.
  • Notwithstanding the SFM is considered a State Significant Development, the disregard for the current regulations that ensure that the use and enjoyment of the Harbour is for the public good, ahead of private interests.
  • The impact on, and damage to, the biodiversity of Blackwattle Bay.
  • The projections in relation to the transport networks do not include all other development activity, be they private or public, that will occur in the area over the medium to short term.
  • The lost opportunity to complete the Glebe foreshore walk across the head of Blackwattle Bay, together with the loss of the Harbour / Wentworth Park amenity.

The foreshore walk, as proposed, will be discriminatory to mobility impaired people, in that, if you are unable to climb the external stairs when travelling from Glebe to Pyrmont you will be forced to enter inside the building and navigate to the lifts.

You can read the Society’s full submissions here:

Please note that there are individual links to each of the two submissions, however as the DAs for stages 1 and 2 were almost identical, so are the submissions.

Whilst the DAs were open for comment, there was some interesting discussion amongst the community regarding the pros and cons of the redevelopment. It is important that those discussions occur and views are expressed. Thank you if you joined the conversations on Facebook and Twitter.

You will notice when reading our submissions, that we spent a lot of time ploughing through the detail, and special thanks must go to Asa Wahlquist for her meticulous research and time spent writing the submissions.

While we will continue to fight for the redevelopment on the current site, the points raised in our submission hopefully should put the Government on notice that they have many issues to face up to and resolve, regardless of the location.

It is apparent that we will be very busy next year engaging with the Government on their master planning for the Bays Precinct. We already have a small working group, but we would welcome additional members who may have some expertise and/or capacity to join and influence outcomes.

In the meantime, if seafood is on your menu for Christmas Day and the holiday period, ENJOY.

On behalf of the Management Committee, Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020 to all members, family and friends.

Brian Fuller
Glebe Society President

Sydney Fish Markets looking south-east from the public walkway of Blackwattle Bay Park, outside the Glebe Rowing Club
Looking south-east from the public walkway of Blackwattle Bay Park, outside the Glebe Rowing Club (Photomontage from the DA’s ‘Landscape Character and Visual Impact Assessment’, p.22.) This is over-development on an unprecedented scale for our suburb. The visual amenity of Blackwattle Bay and Wentworth Park will be destroyed by the oversized, hulking mass of the proposed new Sydney Fish Market.

A quick review of the submissions to the DAs for the proposed Sydney Fish Market, Concept and Stage 1, by Asa Wahlquist

Overall there are 183 submissions, 150 from the general public, 24 from organisations, and nine from public authorities. The vast majority, 96 of the general public submissions, opposed the DAs. Of these 15 were on the forms we distributed, and many of the submissions raised points that were on our flyer. There were also a number of form letters from employees of Hansons.

In support, there were 18 general public submissions, but of these only five completely endorsed it (one of them came from Orange in Central NSW) with the others wanting alterations to the DA, mostly to do with traffic and access. Two specifically mentioned that the Glebe Society did not represent their views.

Many of the 34 comments were actually very critical. The majority were essentially form letters from members of the Glebe Rowing Club that said they thought the proposal was terrific then went on about all the changes they wanted to see that would enable the club to continue to use Blackwattle Bay for rowing training.

From the organisations, nine, mostly from fishing organisations, supported it; eight objected; and six made comments. Friends of Ultimo was listed as making a comment, but in fact the submission was critical. Pyrmont Action Inc was listed as an objection, although it stated they are not opposed to the relocation. They did have a number of strong objections.

Mirvac (owner of Broadway Shopping Centre and the Tramsheds) applied a good legal mind to the DA and objected, arguing the plan was not consistent with waterfront use under SEP 26, did not provide an economic justification and was made in the absence of a Bays Masterplan – all arguments the Glebe Society also put forward.

The public authorities’ responses were all ‘comments’ except – and this I think is the best of all – from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) which OBJECTED on the grounds of traffic. The Glebe Society believes this is the argument that is most likely to win the day, and it is indeed a rare experience to have the RMS on our side.

RMS made the point that the transport data was from 2017, and so might not fully represent the increase in traffic due to more recent developments; that the proposed plans would result in traffic delays at the Wattle St/Bridge Rd intersection; there needs to be a dedicated cycle lane (not one shared with pedestrians, which the RMS notes ‘will likely introduce safety concerns’); and the proposed increase in the road level of Bridge Rd between Wattle St and Wentworth Park ‘will require removal of a significant amount of foliage from the established Moreton Bay fig trees. These are considered to be highly important to the community and should be protected where possible. Furthermore, the increase in finished level along Bridge Rd will potentially exacerbate localised flooding on the surrounding road network’.

The City of Sydney supported the proposal in principle, but followed that with 27 pages of criticisms.

Infrastructure NSW is now required to respond to the Department of Planning over issues raised in the submission by 27 January 2020. It must also respond to a number of issues raised by the Department, which include a comparison of existing and proposed public domain/accessible areas (including the footprint of the structure over the water and the pedestrian access along the waterfront); elements of the design, and parking.

Asa Wahlquist
Environment Subcommittee Convenor