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Who's Who and what are they doing around the Waterloo Public Housing redevelopment

The below overview was initially put together in January 2017 as activities were being planned for the the Master Planning associated with the Waterloo Public Housing Redevelopment. We will try and keep this updated as the process unfolds so people have an idea of who is doing what. REDWatch is having a What's Cooking open mic on Thursday 2nd February where some of those involved below will be talking in their own words.

Waterloo Overview January 2017

Land and Housing Corporation’s (LAHC) Communities Plus will kick off the Master Planning exercise probably in March. This is expected to create many opportunities for people to comment on aspects of the Masterplan. This is on top of the usual activity, projects and events that happen around the Waterloo estate. The City of Sydney and the Department of Planning are finalising the studies required as part of declaring the Waterloo Estate a State Significant Precinct. The details of the studies have not yet been released. REDWatch has requested the opportunity for community input into the briefs issued to consultants working on the Waterloo redevelopment studies and we have been told this will happen. Hopefully this provides some possibility of ensuring community concerns and issues will be covered in the underlying studies.

The Waterloo Neighbourhood Advisory Board (NAB) has set up a Waterloo Redevelopment Group under its NAB structure. This group will be independently chaired and include NAB reps, public tenants, representatives from local resident groups and service providers. It will guide the communication and engagement activities run by Family & Community Services throughout the life of the redevelopment project. This group will meet on 3rd Wednesday of month from 2pm - 3.30pm. This group is in addition to the usual NAB meeting of elected precinct representatives and the NAB’s existing Redfern & Waterloo Events Group and the Waterloo Wellbeing & Safety Action Group.

The Groundswell Redfern Waterloo Agencies have been meeting monthly to push for, and guide, community capacity building. During the 2011 Master Plan, Groundswell also operated undertaking capacity building – this Groundswell Coalition Facebook  still operates from that time. The agencies currently involved are South Sydney Community Aid, Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory), Inner Sydney Voice, Redfern Legal Service, the Tenants Union and Shelter NSW. Groundswell will guide NGO input into capacity building and other activity around the Waterloo redevelopment. The interests of these agencies briefly are:

  • The Factory / Counterpoint Community Services (CCS)– is funded for Laura Kelly’s role as Housing Communities Program (HCP) Redfern Waterloo Community Development Worker. The Factory will also be funded for a new 12 month Community Development Officer to work with the community during the Master Planning. It is currently recruiting for this role. You can see the details here. The Factory also provides a range of services and facilitates groups working with and for Waterloo tenants.
  • Inner Sydney Voice (ISV) – is funded for David White’s Tenants Participation Resource Service who handles elections and training for NABs in our area and across Northern Sydney. It also has a specialist HACC sector Development Officer and does capacity building for the regional human services sector producing the ISV magazine such as the Winter 2016 – Redeveloping Public Housing. ISV is being funded initially for a 6 month (3 day a week) Capacity Building Project Worker to work with tenants and surrounding residents to help them better understand the Master Plan and to participate in the discussion about what happens in their community. ISV is currently recruiting for this position. You can see the details here. ISV is also seeking funding to supply residents with independent expert advice during the master planning process. It may also be that the two new positions will be co-located with an Aboriginal Community Development position appointed by LAHC.
  • Redfern Legal Service (RLC) – has received funding from City of Sydney to assist people facing relocation. They have experience in doing this in Millers Point. Relocations have now been pushed back in Waterloo to mid-2018. RLC continue to provide tenancy legal support to people in Waterloo and will probably provide tenancy training in the capacity building.
  • South Sydney Community Aid (SSCA) – is the local multicultural community centre servicing the Waterloo estate. It is looking at how it can support the CALD communities during the Master Plan discussion with specialist language and cultural expertise.
  • Shelter NSW and the Tenant’s Union are statewide peaks so are not closely involved on the ground in Waterloo but have immense experience in policy and bring to the table knowledge of what has and is happening in other redevelopments. They are working on broader issues of relevance to Waterloo and will provide capacity-building expertise.

In the non-agency space there are two local resident groups: REDWatch (REDW – Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo) and the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG).

REDWatch has a broader remit than Waterloo but it was set up in 2004 to ensure the areas’ diverse communities are heard in discussions with government about what happens in the area. We have been working behind the scenes in discussions to seek clarification about what is happening and to get better processes this time around. REDWatch’s involvement will clarify as things unfold as it does not want to duplicate what others are doing but it will bring to bear its previous experience in dealing with capacity building and the last Master Plan in its involvement with communities, committees and government. You can see information about the current and past pushes for the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate on Waterloo Public Housing Renewal tab on the REDWatch website.

WPHAG was established by Richard Weeks and has been active over the last year meeting with Minister Hazzard, bureaucrats, running a petition, a tent embassy and trying to gain exposure for what is happening in Waterloo. It meets weekly and attendance is open to anyone not just public housing tenants. It has been active in pushing LAHC to address maintenance issues. Among other things, WPHAG is seeking to ensure no one leaves Waterloo unless they want to, that the high-rise are refurbished (re-blocked) rather than pulled down, that there is no change to tenant leases in the transfer and that LAHC retains ownership of all existing land. You find out more about them at www.wphag.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/wphagwaterloo or email the group at wphag.nsw@hotmail.com

#WeLiveHere2017 – was an early project initiated by a local resident Clare Lewis. It was initially auspiced by Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory) and worked with WPHTG – you can find more details at www.welivehere2017.com.au. We Live Here list its current projects as:

  • Opinion hub: We've made a platform to capture your ideas and concerns about the redevelopment plans for Waterloo. 
  • Story hub: We welcome people contributing their Waterloo story to our Facebook page or Instagram, just hashtag #WeLiveHere2017 and lets see who's out there, and what you love about Waterloo.
  • Documentary: We are making a documentary that explores and celebrates our neighbourhood stories. We are also working with Matavai and Turanga Towers to create a community-powered light sculpture in 2017.
  • Light project: Five hundred residents will be given a coloured mood light for their window to express how they feel about the changes before relocations begin.

A Community Master Plan – this is a proposal for a Community Masterplan to run alongside the official Master Plan. The people involved in this are talking to Academics, Architects and Planners about being involved in this project. It could provide independent options to tenants through the Mater Planning process. If you are interested in more information contact Joey Watson joey.watson@pobox.com.

Turning Towers - Milk Crate Theatre - How can a community stay connected during a time of dramatic and rapid change? Join Milk Crate Theatre as they team up with Counterpoint Community Services and South Sydney Community Aid to create an original, interactive play inspired by the NSW Government plan to redevelop the inner city suburb of Waterloo. #Groundswell Everyone is welcome that is affected or interested in the Waterloo redevelopment. For more information contact: Milk Crate Theatre (02) 9698 7133 OR mail@milkcratetheatre.com. Rehearsals Tuesday's 10:30am - 12.30pm during February and March. Performance One:When: South Sydney Uniting Church, 56A Raglan St, Waterloo Tursday 30 March 6pm - 8pm and Performance Two:Where: Redfern Town Hall, 73 Pitt St Redfern Redfern Friday, 31 March 2:30pm - 5:30pm (Includes a Q&A Panel) If you or someone you know or work with is affected or interested in the Waterloo redevelopment they are welcome to be part of the creative development: DOWNLOAD FLYER HERE

This overview has been prepared by REDWatch on 30 January 2017. If you have any additions or changes for this overview please email mail@redwatch.org.au