In early January 2020 The Glebe Society was invited to meet with representatives of Infrastructure NSW to engage in early discussions on the redevelopment of the current Sydney Fish Market and the Bank St precinct.

Representing the Glebe Society were Lesley Lynch, Asa Wahlquist and Brian Fuller. Whilst there was not a significant advance on previous information provided, the Glebe Society welcomes the continued dialogue.

The following is our response to the meeting, as written to Infrastructure NSW:

We note the intention to master plan Blackwattle Bay as a separate precinct to the entire Bays Precinct. Whilst this has the advantage of greater focus on the Bay, the disadvantages are to a coordinated network in relation to transport, housing, recreation space, employment distribution, the operating harbour etc. This is especially critical given the projected population growth of greater Sydney to 8.5 million by 2056 (per City of Sydney) and the pressures that puts on the Inner West/Bays Precinct.

Whilst we appreciate that the planning is very preliminary, there is a tremendous opportunity to get it ‘right’ and we look forward to further meaningful consultation that results in great outcomes for the community.

We request that the planning proposals seek to respect the provisions of the Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour catchment 2005) and more particularly, to ensure accessibility to Sydney Harbour and its foreshores, the public good has precedence over the private good whenever change is proposed, and the protection of the natural assets of Sydney Harbour has precedence over all other interests.

Within that context we wish to record that the items of importance to members of the Glebe Society will include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:

  • The foreshore walk is a true foreshore walk that does not detour into or between buildings
  • The scale of the built form away from the foreshore, particularly height, is measured and respects the need not to overshadow the environmental assets along the recreated foreshore
  • The provision of recreational space is balanced appropriately and not compromised by ‘developer’ interests
  • The road network is not overburdened and given relief by the adoption of enhanced ferry services to Circular Quay, connectivity to a repaired Glebe Island Bridge for cycle and pedestrian use, and the appropriate location of a Sydney West Metro station
  • The ‘mixed use’ proposal for the built form is balanced between the need to attract employment opportunities (say, in smart technology) for the community seeking local employment, whilst living within an accessible locale that does not put further pressure on transport infrastructure.
  • The site is already challenged given the adjacency to the Western Distributor/Anzac Bridge, and the master planning must not be further compromised by the need to over-develop in order to fund a very expensive relocated Fish Market.
Sydney Fishmarkets view from under the Western Distributor
The current Sydney Fish Market site is tightly hemmed in by the busy Western Distributor – hardly an appropriate site for a massive residential development. (photo: V. Simpson-Young)

We did not have sufficient time to discuss this last point, however all of us have a responsibility to the site not to allow it to be used to finance other developments. The minute that occurs, the best plans will be diluted, and the price paid has negative implications over the longer term to an aspirational smart city.

Notwithstanding our continued objection to the relocated Fish Market, we look forward to further consultation with you.

Brian Fuller
Convenor, Heritage Subcommittee