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You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Government, UG, SMDA & RWA Statements / 2008 / RWA Letter to Editor on North Eveleigh & ATP Blacksmith

RWA Letter to Editor on North Eveleigh & ATP Blacksmith

This letter was submitted by Robert Domm to the Sydney Morning Herald in response to the SMH's "Battle Stations for North Eveleigh" on August 2 and Brian Dunnett's letter "Ditching Eveleigh agreement robs the future by discounting the past".

How ironic that the two rail heritage buildings depicted in Saturday's Herald  (2/8) as being "eyed off by developers" are in fact guaranteed to remain in public ownership under the Redfern-Waterloo Authority's concept plan for the North Eveleigh site.  In respect to these two buildings, the Government through Arts  NSW has invested more than $40 million in refurbishing the CarriageWorks as a performing arts space and is also currently investing $3 million through the RWA in refurbishing the Blacksmith's Workshop as a community market space.

This example illustrates some of the inaccurate commentary about rail heritage that is currently occurring.  The Herald's article, for example, states that twenty heritage buildings are to be demolished at North Eveleigh.  The truth is that all heritage buildings and structures listed in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Projects) are to be retained under the RWA's proposed concept plan.  This amounts to 52,730 m2 of heritage floor space at North Eveleigh or about 29% of the total gross floor area for the whole site.

Indeed, the RWA's Built Environment Plan for the former Eveleigh rail precinct promotes the retention of about 6.7 hectares of total site area for rail heritage buildings, The Government has amply demonstrated its credentials by investing very significant amounts of money in preserving important elements of our rail history at North Eveleigh and the Australian Technology Park.

In Monday's Herald, a former rail employee also criticises the RWA for requiring a successful private business operating at the ATP, with an annual turnover of up to $1.2 million, to enter into a lease and pay a reasonable amount of rent.  This commercial issue is being misrepresented as a heritage issue. 

The truth is that the private business has not paid any rent for 18 years and has had free use during this time of the ATP's heritage machinery and equipment. 

This is not a tenable situation in the longer term and the ATP has quite rightly asked the private business to enter into a lease. Should the current business be required to vacate, the ATP will keep the heritage equipment in place and establish an alternative blacksmithing operation sympathetic to the history of the site.

Yours sincerely

Robert Domm
Chief Executive Officer, Redfern-Waterloo Authority
Managing Director, Australian Technology Park