Message from Glebe Society President, Janet Wahlquist, on 13 June 2020
I am writing to you about the future of Blackwattle Bay and the NSW Government’s plans to ‘revitalise’ it.
The Glebe Society objects to the plan on the following grounds:
- The proposed 45 storey buildings would tower over the Bay, casting long shadows in the morning. For reference: the pylons of the Anzac Bridge are 120 metres high, a 45 storey building is 156m.
- There is no associated traffic plan. Thousands of people would be living and working there, and that is in addition to the six million forecast to visit the new Sydney Fish Market.
- There is still no Master Plan for the area, nor has the Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy been completed.
- The proposal is for development on publicly-owned land, but the emphasis is on maximising profits with little consideration of the public good.
At a briefing by NSW Infrastructure, a spokesman said the 8.4ha site was one kilometre from the CBD. So, in effect this is an expansion of the CBD to the shores of Blackwattle Bay. Will Glebe be next?
The Glebe Society considers this development proposal to be driven more by the need to generate maximum profits to fund the new, unnecessarily expensive Fish Market and for the developers, than for the public good.
The NSW Government will need to recoup the $750 million cost of building the new Sydney Fish Market on Bridge Rd, over Blackwattle Bay. These plans for the current Fish Market site and adjacent privately-owned land are designed to do that.
The Glebe Society opposes the construction of the new Sydney Fish Market. We accept that the Fish Market needs to be redesigned and replaced, but we believe that should be done on the current site.
The proposed new Sydney Fish Market
The Glebe Society opposes the construction of the new Sydney Fish Market on a number of grounds, including:
- The impact on local traffic and on local parking;
- The potential for massive pollution of Blackwattle Bay by digging into the Bay (the DA’s own figures show polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and total petroleum hydrocarbons in the sediment exceed high trigger levels as do the heavy metals mercury, lead, zinc, copper and nickel);
- The separation of Wentworth Park from the Bay by the scale of the building;
- The lack of the promised Master Plan;
- The NSW Government spending $750 million on building what will be a glorified shopping centre – not one extra fish will be sold there – that will take business from Glebe shops and restaurants;
- The doubling of the size of the Fish Market, which is based on the expectation of increased tourism, particularly from China. This is seriously threatened by the current pandemic and tensions between Australia and China.
The Government has announced the Sydney Fish Market will be fast-tracked, though at the time of writing (12 June 2020) the DA has not yet been approved. View the details of the proposed building, and the Glebe Society’s objections.
The plans for the ‘revitalisation’ of Blackwattle Bay
The Government plans to fund the new Fish Markets by selling (actually leasing on a 99-year lease) the 8.4-hectare site of the current Sydney Fish Markets and adjacent privately-owned land.
It is proposing three scenarios, with buildings of up to 45 storeys tall. The buildings would house between 1000 and 1700 homes and office space for between 4000 to 7000 jobs. The only choice the community gets is the mix of offices and housing. It is not clear how much will be much-needed affordable housing, but the indication is it will be a very inadequate 5 to 10 per cent.
If the proposed Sydney Fish Market building goes ahead, and is completed on schedule, the land will not become available until 2024/5. The Glebe Society asks, why the hurry? This question is particularly pertinent, given the rapidly changing economic and work environment. There are currently high vacancy rates for CBD offices and apartments, and there is a question mark over the future of Chinese tourism to Australia.
The Glebe Society considers this development proposal to be driven more by the need to generate maximum profits to fund the new, unnecessarily expensive Fish Market and for the developers, than for the public good. I urge you to read the Government’s plans for ‘Revitalising Blackwattle Bay’, then to walk along Blackwattle Bay and imagine the buildings towering over the Bay and the Anzac Bridge and the throngs of people living and working there and visiting the new Fish Markets …
Glebe Society President