REPORT OF PUBLIC MEETING AND FOLLOW UP ACTION
BAYS PRECINCTURBAN RENEWAL PROJECT
PROTECT THE PUBLIC INTEREST
The community meeting held in Glebe Town hall on the 4th August to defend the public interest in the Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Project announced by Premier Baird and UrbanGrowth NSW was a stunner. We expected about 40 but over 200 people rolled leaving standing room only in the main hall. Residents from all areas of the Bays Precincts communities were well represented. A preliminary statement and four resolutions were distributed for consideration of the meeting. (reference TGSI website)
It was also well attended by our local political representatives and candidates. Clover Moore sent apologies but nominated the Deputy Lord Mayor Robyn Kemmis as her representative and councillors Mant, Green, Scott and Doutney attended. The Mayor of Leichhardt Darcy Bryne apologised as he was away but nominated the Deputy Mayor Linda Kelly as his representative and councillors Breen, Porteous and Stamolis were present. Local MPs Jamie Parker and Alex Greenwich were present as was ALP candidate Verity Firth.
The meeting was chaired by Genia McCaffery, ex-mayor of North Sydney and President of the Australian Local Government Association. The organisers of the meeting (Lesley Lynch, John Brooks, Jane Marceau and Carolyn Allen) explained the context and their reasons for calling the meeting and introduced the 4 resolutions for which they were seeking community endorsement.
Discussion was lively and the community mood pretty clear – disappointment, anger, frustration, determination.
A host of constructive ideas and some debate about tactics emerged both through formal resolutions and suggestions. (A list of these of all of these we could recall is attached with indication of any action taken –or proposed to be taken. Tab 1.)
There was unanimity on all the main points set out in the tabled resolutions and they were endorsed – with the amendments to add some new dimensions. (Amended version of resolutions attached Tab 2)
Some very smart suggestions surfaced. One suggestion was to contact as many of the experts invited to the ‘Expert Summit’ as possible and ensure they are briefed on the community views and concerns about community participation and the protection of the public interest in these publicly owned bays and foreshores.
Other ideas from the floor stressed the obvious importance of a vigorous social media element to the campaign, the unsuitability of the developer, business dominated Urban Growth Board, the need for all our elected representative to be active on our behalf in this campaign; for the indigenous Gadigal people ‘s connection to the bays to be recognised in the principles and for Aboriginal communities to be represented at the summits.
At the close of the meeting Lesley Lynch noted that she had taken as many notes as possible- as had other organisers- and that almost everything proposed was consistent with the tabled resolutions-and would strengthen them. She undertook to pick up all suggestions and include them in the resolutions where appropriate and/or pick them up in the ongoing campaign. The meeting agreed with this. The amended resolutions endorsed by the public meeting can be read here.
I want to thank the Glebe Society for their support in getting this meeting to happen by finding a location and publicising the meeting; and to the City of Sydney Council for providing the Town Hall and equipment for the meeting at a discounted rate.
Post Meeting Developments
Since the meeting we have acted on the most urgent of the flow-on actions:
- Amended the formal resolutions and sent immediately to elected representatives requesting their active support (Jamie Parker and Alex Greenwich have raised the campaign in the NSW parliament – Verity Firth has assisted in arranging a meeting with ALP MPs )
- Met with city of Sydney Council and have scheduled meeting with Leichhardt Council to discuss collaboration
- Met and discussed options for collaboration with associate Professor Rod Simpson from the Urbanism Discipline at the University of Sydney – agreed to seek support from Councils
- Written to Premier and Minister for Planning seeking an urgent meeting (read the letter here)
- Contacted CEO of Urban Growth David Pitchford and meeting scheduled
- Distributing the final resolutions and the report of the meeting more widely through our websites and contact list Note: we have yet to key in the list of individuals who left email contacts at the meeting. But will get to it…)
- Building the Bays Precinct and then the wider Sydney coalition
- Meeting with Government (we hope) to seek their reaction to our request to convene the peoples summit and invite community representatives to the expert summit.
Is your community group able to help??
We have a small organising group which needs to be expanded quickly. In line with resolutions 2 and 4 from the meeting- we invite all community organisations (excluding developer organisations) within the Bays Precinct to join the organising group to help with the organisation of a Sydney wide peoples coalition and the peoples summit and to generally carry the campaign forward.
Lesley Lynch Convenor Bays and Foreshores subcommittee
Tab 1 Summary of Main issues and Proposals Raised at the Public meeting
Note any action taken or proposed to be taken at this stage is listed in bold in brackets. Others were already covered in the resolutions or related to matters to be picked up at a later stage.
- That the resolution calling on the Government to convene a people’s summit be amended to it being a convened in collaboration with the two local councils. (Resolution 3 c amended)
- That the organisers seek the support in organising the peoples summit from an academic group academic at Sydney University already proposing to do work on urban renewal around the Summit and who have expressed interest in working with us. (agreed to follow up)
- This meeting rejects the Government’s Urban Renewal Project for the Bays Precinct announced by Premier Baird which completely ignores the needs and rights of the community and the past extensive work by Councils and the community on strategic planning for the Bays Precinct and Urban Growth as currently constituted as the lead agency (Resolution 3a amended)
- Consultation with the community should not be done to an election agenda and the community calls on the Government to ensure full and extensive consultation is undertaken such that the time needed is allocated to ensure meaningful and comprehensive community engagement (Covered by resolutions 2b, 3a,b,c)
- This meeting call on elected representatives at the November meeting to put forward the communities’ views as established at the people’s summit. (local government (Linda and Robyn) and state members (Jamie and Alex) agreed and Verity reported she had our principles adopted by ALP State Conference )
- That in addition to the continuous public access to the harbour foreshore that significant other areas of the 80ha remain as public open space (new principle added)
- That the community engagement process include an active and contemporary social media campaign to elicit widespread resident support and demonstrate this support to our leaders. (absolutely essential)
- That the organisers make direct contact with as many of the invited ‘experts’ as possible to inform them of the lack of engagement of the community and ask them to support our principles – notably the defence of the public good. (will be acted on)
- That we needed to define the meaning of public good in this context. (partly done in Bays Precinct Taskforce Report – will be next stage in this campaign)
- That Aboriginal (C/Gadigal ) History be given recognition- possibly an additional principle and that Aboriginal community be invited to summits.
- Peoples voice be used instead of peoples perspective (resolution 2b amended)