It was only a few short months ago that we last met here to discuss the Government’s ill-conceived plans for mass rezoning in our suburbs – the Government’s Sydenham to Bankstown Renewal plans.
At that meeting, hundreds of local residents made their opposition crystal clear to the government’s colour-by-number rezoning of our suburbs.
Many residents raised the prospect of a monolithic development on Carrington Road, the details of which were hazy at best.
But now our worst fears for that development have been realised:
· 2,616 new apartments;
· Multiple towers stretching up to 35 storeys, almost twice the height of Wolli Creek;
· The loss of vital employment lands, creative industries and 1,400 local jobs;
· No details on affordable housing; and
· A critical lack of open space and community infrastructure.
And of course, the proponent is proposing this massive development be built on land wholly within a flood-plain, under a flight path and beside a busy freight rail-line.
Let me be absolutely clear, I am personally opposed to this absurd proposal and stand with you and every member of our community against this kind of over-development.
I am also very pleased to be able to announce here tonight that a State Labor Government would immediately tear up plans for the Government’s priority precincts and the Sydenham to Bankstown Rezoning plan.
I want to quote my colleague Michael Daley, Labor’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure when last night he said:
“Let me say this to developers that are door-knocking today. Door-knock, take out options and purchase those properties at your own risk, because when I am the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure in March 2019, we will be taking Anthony Roberts’ plans for density along the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor and we will be putting them in the shredder.”
Any rezoning in our community under Labor would be done through meaningful consultation with the community, in full partnership with local councils through their proper LEP processes.
And with our schools, child-care centres, hospitals, parks and open spaces at the forefront.
Community infrastructure must come first.
NSW Labor understands that we need thoughtful, architecturally designed, sustainable development that respects our unique heritage and character of our suburbs.
We know that as we become a bigger city, we must also fight to be a bold and beautiful city – one that functions in the interests of community – not for the interests of developers.
As Mayor of Marrickville, I championed the development of the Sydenham Creative Hub, an innovative rezoning of the industrial lands around Sydenham Station.
That plan would protect and preserve the industrial activity in the neighbourhood, but would also allow creative industries to thrive.
If approved, we’ll see more breweries, small bars, restaurants and performance spaces operating in symbiosis with panel-beaters and factory warehouses.
The grit and creativity together.
We’ll see change, but change that organically builds upon the creative energy that is already happening and which protects and supports existing industry.
In stark opposition to that, you have this proposal from Mirvac at Carrington Road.
The incredible Chris Gibson has done a phenomenal job outlining the creative ecology along Carrington Road in his “Made in Marrickville Report”
We know that the prop makers, creative studios and spaces play a vital role in the artistic life of our city, supporting a vibrant and growing arts industry.
That shouldn’t be surprising – the precinct is full of large, open spaces perfect for making noise, experimenting and making the impossible possible.
Those creative industries sit perfectly alongside neighbours engaged in traditional heavy industry and manufacturing.
All of that is risked by this proposal, which will obliterate the industrial mix on the site and lock it up with residential towers.
I note that the proponent has suggested a proportion of land will be set aside for creative industries, but I think we have to resist the kind of development that erases existing industry and preserves only a fragment of it as a kind of living museum.
I also think we need to foster development that respects our local environment: I’m not sure that 2,600 apartments on Gumbramorra Swamp does that.
The renderings of the proposal that have been made public suggest we’ll see sweeping green boulevards and green rooves, however, we know that these are often the first things to go with development of this scale.
Artist’s impressions are often just that – impressions.
We know that Mackey Park is under incredible pressure - just ask the Red Devils - we don’t have enough fields for our kids to play on.
We know that the Cooks River is under immense pressure with litter, runoff and sewerage.
This community has worked hard for decades to improve the water quality and surrounds.
How on earth the River will cope with the proposed number of additional units demands urgent attention?
There can be no question that towers of this height will overshadow our parks, and overshadow homes and amenities both in South Marrickville and Tempe, too. That includes our schools, and I think of the Ferncourt and Tempe school communities particularly.
These towers are completely absurd.
If you need further proof, all you need to do is look at the lego model created by Save Marrickville South.
No matter which way you look at it, this is classic over reach from developers.
It is over-development pure and simple.
So what can we do?
Well, you have Labor members at every level of Government fighting with you.
You have community groups fighting with you. You can join them tonight.
There will be opportunities to make submissions and to fight this through the planning process.
I have also distributed these cards featuring a letter to the Premier.
Take some with you to give to your neighbours.
Please sign them and return them to my staff at the back of the room tonight, or return them to my office on Marrickville Road.
It is so important that we let the Premier and Minister for Planning know that this kind of development is completely unacceptable and that we stand united against it.
I also encourage you to please share your ideas with me: write to my office, email my office, call my office.
Let me know about the kind of Marrickville and the kind of city you want to help create.
I will always continue to fight with you to save our inner west suburbs.