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A manicured elephant? Plans for CUB site revealed

Australian musician Chris Gillespie sings a song about an M2 Cockatoo who’s disgusted to find his peaceful bushland home turned into a motorway. Walking home from the latest community information session at the old Carlton United Brewery site on Wednesday July 9, I couldn’t help humming the disgruntled cockatoo’s ballad. The Fraser Company’s proposed development won’t uproot any people or wildlife from their home, but the bird’s sensation of irrelevance in the face of progress is the same writes Benjamin Ball in the South Sydney Herald of August 2008.

The architects, developers and sustainability experts exuded pride and excitement as they presented their ideas to the large local crowd, and with good reason. The proposed development aims to create Australia’s first six-star (world leading) green precinct, with a bohemian “Melbourne laneway experience”, abundant green areas, and zero net greenhouse emissions and water consumption throughout the site. The dormant CUB industrial area will be revived to link Broadway and Chippendale with a dynamic, sustainable neighbourhood of residential and retail areas.

At first glance the future looks good, and the established process of community consultation has the appearance of democracy working well. But the underlying reality was not lost on the audience. With so much money to be made, development is inevitable, and regardless of whether it is green, brown or pink, it will change Chippendale and its surrounds forever.

The original development plans would have potentially tripled the suburb’s population. The amended plans are even bigger, with the total groundfloor area growing 10 per cent, from 235,000 to 257,000 square metres.

Community concerns on the night ranged from the increased height of the proposed building on the corner of Broadway and Abercrombie streets, to security, noise, poker machine use, increased traffic, parking availability, and the strain on public transport infrastructure, much of which is already at bursting-point.

Towards the end of the night, having heard about the benefits the development will bring to the community, and having seen artists’ sketches of the plans, a Chippendale resident named Dave raised his hand and summed up local sentiment with one question: Why does an elephant paint its toenails pink?

Answer: So it can hide in a strawberry patch. The proposals for the CUB site are progressive and exciting. A manicured elephant comes included.

Source: South Sydney Herald August 2008