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REDWatch Request to Council

Following the ATP sale anouncement REDWatch requested Council to assess the impact and report back to the community. Below is the text of the REDWatch request.

Dear Councillors

I write on behalf of REDWatch to seek Council support for impacted City of Sydney communities following UrbanGrowth’s announcement on 4th December that they are selling the Australian Technology Park at Eveleigh through an EOI process, the first stage of which closes on 30th January 2015.

I request that Council provide this support by:

  1. Urgently undertaking an impact assessment of the decision to sell the ATP and making that assessment publically available to impacted communities
  2. Convene a community forum in the second half of January to explain the potential impact to local communities and to work with communities to ensure their concerns are heard by UrbanGrowth in line with the Council UG MOU Resolution of 28 July 2014.
  3. Use its good offices under the MOU with UrbanGrowth NSW to try to mitigate any adverse impacts on surrounding residents.
  4. As a matter of urgency implement the Council resolution of 26 August 2013 to work with members of the previous Redfern Waterloo Heritage Taskforce and others to try to establish a co-operative effort to strengthen heritage interpretation and promotion at Eveleigh (including the ATP). 

With this process running over the Christmas New Year period when communities are on holidays it is even more important that Council undertakes such an assessment and informs its residents of the potential impacts.

Council has an MOU with UrbanGrowth through which officers can hopefully have some influence in minimising adverse impacts. On July 28 2014 Council also resolved to request the CEO to report back to Council on establishing mechanisms for community engagement on the Eveleigh/Redfern and the Bays Precinct projects, which will ensure the participation of the community in the development of the projects. To date we have not been advised of any such mechanism for Central to Eveleigh. Such a mechanism, if put in in place alongside a Council undertaken impact assessment, could facilitate community members making a response to UrbanGrowth to try to minimise the impacts of the sale. It is hence proposed that a community meeting in the second half of January be a start to this process.

Heritage has been a major concern on this iconic site – remember the battles to remove the Large Erecting Workshop and to remove the operating Blacksmith whose continued existence was a consent condition for establishing the ATP. The change from government ownership to private ownerships raises a number of risks including the impact of no longer needing to meet government Section 170 requirements. In 2013 Council supported the reconvening of the former Redfern Waterloo Heritage Taskforce stakeholders and the Lord Mayor wrote to then Minister Hazzard on 22 August 2013 requesting that a Government and Heritage taskforce be established.  Council resolved on 26 August 2013 that in the event that a government heritage taskforce is not established within a reasonable time, the City will work with the Australian Technology Park, Carriageworks and UrbanGrowth and other members of the previous Taskforce, with a view to bringing the parties together to explore how a co-operative effort could strengthen heritage interpretation and promotion across the former Eveleigh Railway Workshops site for the benefit of all parties.

Given the potential heritage implications of the sale, and the greater ease of establishing a mechanism across the entire site before the site is further fragmented, we are asking Council to implement the 2013 resolution as a matter of urgency.

I recognise that this email comes at a difficult time in the Council year but with the timing of this announcement I hope it will be possible for Council to act on this important matter.

Below is an email I sent out last evening to C2E stakeholders that contains links to the sale details and some initial REDWatch concerns from a quick look at the proposal should you require further information.


Geoffrey Turnbull