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Draft Metro Quarter Proposal

On Wednesday 30 May 2018 UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation (UGDC) and Transport for NSW / Sydney Metro released their draft proposal for the Waterloo Metro Quarter (Station block) and held their first information session. Here is a quick guide to what was released.

The second drop in information session will be held on Saturday 2 June 2018 11am-2pm at Redfern Town Hall. You can also come along to the next REDWatch meeting at the Factory 67 Raglan Street on 7 June at 6pm where UrbanGrowth and Sydney Metro will present and answer questions. Sessions are also being arranged for the Russian, Chinese and Aboriginal communities.

The exhibition consists of a number of information boards and a feedback sheet. So that you have a chance to look at the material and work out your questions we have provided links to the information boards and the on line version of the feedback sheet on the UGDC website.

There is some additional information also available now at www.ugdc.nsw.gov.au/growth-centres/redfern-to-waterloo/metro-quarter/. The Metro Quarter proposal is expected to be formally submitted in mid to late July 2018.

We also learnt today that TfNSW has lodged a Request with the Department of Planning and Environment for Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the Metro Quarter site, this will allow the master plan to be captured in a draft concept plan and not just a set of planning controls. You can see the details in the SEARs that was lodged today and the Sydney Metro’s Waterloo Integrated Station Development in the document library of the Sydney Metro website or down load them from the links below.

I am not going to make any analysis of the draft proposal except to say it proposes to deliver 700 units (of which 20% will be social and affordable) and these figures are in addition to what will be delivered on the Waterloo Estate. It does this mainly through three towers of 29, 25 and 23 storeys. Beware that the diagram showing the proposed building envelopes can easily be misinterpreted – the towers front onto Botany Road but they can easily be interpreted as being on the Cope Street side. A better representation can be found in the SEARs application.

We have long held a concern about truth in development artist impressions. The extensive looking public plaza we are told is really the size of 3-4 basketball courts. The impression is looking from Cope Street towards Regent Street and the terraced steps are designed to retain water in a one in 100 year type flood event as well as to sit on.

Metro Quarter Comments

REDWatch with Inner Sydney Voice and Counterpoint, issued a media release over our concerns about the separation of the Metro Quarter master planning from the Waterloo Estate master planning. You can see this statement on the REDWatch website under Waterloo Metro Quarter railroads public housing tenants . An article along these lines also ran in the Sun Herald on 27 May and you can see it here - Metro quarter to open without trains. The Sun Herald article came from out comments below in an email last week.

Waterloo Metro Quarter

As it looks at the moment the Metro Quarter Draft Master Plan engagement will run from 30 May to 20 June and the sessions being arranged seem to be only information sessions rather than workshops. Feedback on the proposal will be made through the UrbanGrowth website, where the proposals will be publically available. There is concern that this will disadvantage public tenants whose first language is not English, older people who do not have access to computers and people who have low literacy levels. There is a big difference between the level of engagement that LAHC has been having with the tenants in the Waterloo Redevelopment Group and the very top down approach of the new UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation (UGDC) and Transport for NSW (TfNSW).

There is quite a lot of anger over the Government not honouring the undertakings given to public housing tenants by LAHC on behalf of UrbanGrowth and Transport for NSW. The decision to fast-track the Metro Quarter means that public tenants do not get time to look at the studies, the Visioning report and attend the study workshops and undertake any capacity building before commenting on this part of the masterplan. In addition UrbanGrowth and Transport for NSW have not taken into account that there are activities already organised in the community that they are now competing with. There is also considerable concern that issues like where community facilities should be located can no longer be dealt with across both sites as would have been possible if both were dealt with together.

One of the big problems in getting participation in the Master Planning sessions has been people’s belief that Government did not care about the people that lived here and the belief that they would do what they wanted to do regardless of community opinion. The decision to dishonour Government Department’s undertakings to the community has just justified the cynicism those people had and made a fool of those who involved themselves in a process that officials said “will be different this time”.

What we are seeing in Waterloo around the Metro is a rush to push the metro station plan through at any cost – with absolutely no regard for the vulnerable community that lives the adjacent estate and the promises that have been made to them. Yes it is politics but it is also why cynicism is so high and getting community participation and trust in the planning system is virtually impossible.

The above are adapted from emails sent to REDWatch Members and Supporters.