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Waterloo Options released - REDWatch

Below are the links to the options papers released on 2 August and some comments made initially by REDWatch.

Thursday night, as REDWatch was meeting, news came through that LAHC was releasing the options for the redevelopment of the Waterloo Public Housing Estate. The key documents are all on the Waterloo page of the Communities Plus website. The main links are:

The individual downloads for the option mud maps are:

It should be noted that the online options are single page representations of how the buildings, uses and heights of the development might be arranged. Much more detail will follow in September and October when the community has an opportunity to engage with LAHC in testing of these options.

REDWatch welcomes the early release of these outline options. It will create a context for the next phase of the engagement, which is a series of workshops around key studies by consultants that have informed the options. The NAB’s Waterloo Redevelopment Group (WRG) and Groundswell have negotiated a gap of six to eight weeks between the release of the studies, and when LAHC will start talking to the community about the options. In effect, the outline of the three options has been released at the beginning of this time rather than just before options’ testing.

The study summaries have not been released with the options. We understand that they will be made available next week to people who register for the workshops. If they are not put onto the Communities Plus website, REDWatch will post them on our website. The Waterloo Newsletter states: “We have completed the baseline study reports on what is currently on the estate and FACS will be hosting presentations on some of the baseline studies. If you want to come and meet some of the team who are conducting the site studies, please come along to any of the sessions. Registrations will be open shortly at www.communitiesplus.com.au  or RSVP to Waterloo Connect, call 1800 738 718 or email waterlooconnect@facs.nsw.gov.au”. There will be limited space in the study sessions so we encourage those interested to register early.

The NAB’s Waterloo Redevelopment Group and Groundswell have been pushing for a high profile launch of the options to try and re-engage tenants in discussions during the options phase. It was a common refrain from people not involved in the “Visioning” to say they would wait until they saw what the government planned to do.

The early release of the three options provides some space for people to hear about what is on the table, to talk to their friends and neighbours, and to get ready their thoughts about what they want to see before talking to LAHC and its consultants about the options. Those who have been campaigning to keep Matavai and Turanga will be pleased to see that Option 1 retains the buildings. The downside of the release is that there may be an increase in anxiety for some people as they see plans, which no longer contain their homes, or for people who live in the parts of the estate marked for early staging in 1-6 years. It will be important that social supports be available for tenants who may become anxious because the options are now public.

City of Sydney and Waterloo

The Waterloo Options all come in around the government’s target density of 7000 units. It was pleasing to see Lord Mayor Clover Moore come out questioning the density proposed in the Waterloo Estate Options and asking the Council CEO to review the proposals. You can support Clover’s concern about the density proposed on her website post on Protect The Waterloo Community. Clover’s comments were especially welcome after the relative silence from Council over the UrbanGrowth Waterloo Metro proposal. Clover’s call on the density is in line with the concerns Council raised a couple of years ago about the density for the Waterloo redevelopment. Since then Council has become involved raising its concerns inside the process and there has been little said publically on the density issue.

For some time we have been expressing our concern about the lack of public voice from City of Sydney in relation to the Redfern and Waterloo developments. Council’s involvement in the formal process has limited its ability to speak up outside the tent. When Council entered the MOU with UrbanGrowth NSW we pushed for a part of Council to remain outside the tent, but this did not appear to have been carried through to the arrangements around the SSPs until now. The City serves on the Waterloo State Significant Precincts Project Review Panel and the State Significant Precinct Waterloo Project Working Group. These give senior council officers input into the process. You can get an idea of what that involves from these answers to questions by Councillor Phelps on City of Sydney and Waterloo Metro Quarter Meetings.

We are not saying that Council should not be involved with DPE and UGDC within the tent. What we are saying is that there needs to be a part of Council, such as the Office of the Lord Mayor, which can raise the kinds of issues Council would raise if its officers were not constrained by their involvement. We await with interest the response of Council Officers through the Council CEO to the Lord Mayor’s request for an assessment of the options.

Taken from REDWatch email update 5 August 2018.