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RWA responds to SSH regarding “Channel Seven rates poorly in Alexandria“

The following letter was also published in the December 2009 Issue of the South Sydney Herald.

To The Editor

South Sydney Herald

Dear Editor,

I refer to the article contained in the November 2009 edition of the South Sydney Herald entitled “Channel Seven rates poorly in Alexandria “.

The article strongly implies that the Redfern Waterloo Authority deliberately kept residents in the dark on this matter, and goes on to suggest that there was inappropriate conduct regarding the approval process. This is not correct.

The development of the Channel 7 building was carried out in accordance with strict adherence to the planning laws and procedures of NSW.

The Australian Technology Park (ATP) Master Plan referred to in the article no longer applies to the ATP. The Plan was superseded by the Redfern Waterloo Authority’s Built Environment Plan (Stage 1) (BEP) and Schedule 3, Part 5 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Development), which were both adopted in 2006. They allow for a variable building height of 4, 11 and 12 storeys over the Channel 7 site. The Channel 7 building does not exceed the maximum allowable 12 storey height limit.

In addition to statutory notification requirements, the Department of Planning sent over 1,000 letters to the neighbouring businesses and residents regarding this development.

Following the completion of the public consultation process a number of changes were made to the design of the building to accommodate community feedback.

In relation to the building’s height, the planning controls for the Australian Technology Park limits building heights to 12 storeys, which the developer has complied with. The suggestion that the developer or the State acted in some underhanded way to permit a change in the height of the building from 5 to 12 storeys is false and misleading. The developer of this building has complied with the law.

I acknowledge that this development has raised concerns from some members of the community, who want to know how potential impacts of the operation of the building will be managed. This is why I have met with the local residents directly to discuss their concerns and have also organised a community meeting on the development that will be held at the ATP in December 2009.

The community engagement process does not stop when construction work is completed. It is an ongoing process that we will undertake in partnership with the developer and the tenants of the building. This is why I am pleased to advise that Channel 7 and its partner company, Global Television, will be joining me at the community meeting in December 2009.

The most fundamental aspect of this development is the significant positive impact that the arrival of Channel 7, Global Television and Pacific Publications will have on the broader RedfernWaterloo community. The economic and social benefits will provide a significant boost for the area. Already the building process alone created jobs for over 60 Aboriginal employees, many of whom live in the local area. This offered a number of these people the opportunity to enter the workforce for the first time.

The builder,WATPAC is to be congratulated for their commitment to this critical program.

The benefits will also go beyond the construction phase, and we will see a further invigoration of the local business community, generating more local jobs and leading to positive social change. We are committed to working with the community to achieve this.

Yours Sincerely

Roy Wakelin-King

Chief Executive Officer

Redfern-Waterloo Authority