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You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Built Environment Plan Phase 1 - The State Significant Sites / Development Control Plans / REDWatch Submission on RWA Draft Redfern-Waterloo Authority Contributions Plan 2006

REDWatch Submission on RWA Draft Redfern-Waterloo Authority Contributions Plan 2006

This is the text of the REDWatch Submission of 8th December 2006 on the RWA Draft Redfern-Waterloo Authority Contributions Plan 2006.

REDWatch welcomes the Draft RWA Contributions Plan and the opportunity to comment upon it.

We note that:

·      the Contributions Plan requires a 2% development levy but that this is at the Minister’s discretion.

·      there are alternatives to paying a development levy for developers which could lead to developer contributions being made to “carry out works or provide a material public benefit towards which the development levy is to be applied” (Draft Page 8) which may not necessarily be on the Works Schedule.

·      “money paid in accordance with a condition authorised by this Plan is to be applied by the Minister towards meeting the cost of providing one or more of the public facilities set out in the Works Schedule within a reasonable time. The locations of those public facilities are shown on the Works Map.” (Draft Page 7).

REDWatch wishes to raise two major areas of concern with the Draft Contributions Plan.

Firstly REDWatch is of the view, that should the Minister decide not to require a Development Contribution under the Plan for any development, the Minister should make public, in the Director General’s Requirements (DGR) or the Minister’s determination, any reason for exemption from the requirement to meet the Contributions Levy. Any exemption from the Levy should be publicly explained. The Draft Contributions Plan seems to deal adequately with arrangements to provide an alternative to the Contributions Levy, as these would be publicly detailed in the developer’s application for consent and / or the Minister’s consent. A public explanation in the situation where the Minister / DGR may exclude the requirement for a Contribution Levy or alternative arrangement would appear not to be covered in the Draft Contributions Plan and it should be.

REDWatch’s other major area of concern is with the adequacy of the Works Schedule presented in the Draft Contributions Plan to which the development levy will be applied. The work schedule appears to have been drawn almost exclusively from the RWA BEP to enhance the North Eveleigh and Gibbons Street redevelopment precincts rather than to provide improved public facilities to service the needs of the Redfern Waterloo community into which the new workers and residents will come. It is not apparent for example that the need for new community facilities and services that have been identified in the RWA Human Services Plan consultations have been considered in the formulation of the list of public facilities in the Draft Contributions Plan.

REDWatch is concerned that inability of the RWA and the AHC to reach an agreement on the shape of the southern end of the Eveleigh Street precinct at the time of the Built Environment Plan’s adoption has meant that there are no public facilities included in the Draft Contributions Plan for the Eveleigh Street precinct other than $100,000 worth of “improvements to footpaths, planting, lighting and street furniture”.

There has been wide discussion over many years about a RED Square proposal to open up the Eveleigh and Lawson Street intersections. REDWatch asserts that this would be a valuable public space that could be funded out of the 2% Developer Levy in a similar manner to the new public spaces in North Eveleigh. Similarly proposals for an Aboriginal Elders Centre, Art Gallery and other potential community facilities in the Eveleigh Street precinct would be worthy of support through the RWA’s Contributions Plan.

Under the draft Contribution Plan developer levies over $100,000 in the Eveleigh Street Precinct will go to build public facilities outside the Eveleigh Street area unless the developer enters an alternative agreement with the Minister. Given the importance of this precinct and the need for public facilities the RWA should look at including the possibility of levy contributions also being able to pay for works in this area.

REDWatch is concerned that the only community facility detailed in the Works Schedule is a new child care facility for which $1.2 million has been allocated. This “multi purpose” facility is the only community facility to cater for the 18,000 new workers and 3,200 new residents mentioned in the RWA’s BEP and the Contributions Plan.

Even to meet childcare requirements REDWatch does not believe this is an adequate provision. We understand that Darlington Public School continues to only accept children from within their drawing area. In the next few years additional children will come into their drawing area from major redevelopments like the CUB Site, the Pemulwuy Project and the western end of North Eveleigh. In addition there is expected to be an increase population resulting from warehouse redevelopments in the area and from families remaining within the inner city after they have children, rather than moving to the suburbs, as has been reported by the City of Sydney. Such population changes indicate that existing children’s services will have to handle a significant increase in numbers after the developments are completed. The RWA should ensure that the service requirements for children have been adequately planned for in the Works Schedule. Many people who will come to work in the area will also look for childcare and schooling in the area in which they work and currently this does not seem to be covered in the existing work schedule.

The Human Services arm of the RWA has been looking at the poor quality and availability of facilities for the delivery of human services in the Redfern Waterloo area. The multi purpose nature of the child care facility is the only new facility for delivery of community services in the Contributions Plan and this does not seem adequate.

Residents and service providers have been continually told by the RWA that there are no new funds available to provide premises for community services and to address the shortfall of human services investment in the area. While these community resources should be supplied by Government funding, REDWatch is of the view that in a climate where more government funds are not being committed to the area, the provision of human services investment should take priority over measures to lessen the impact of state main roads on the area. As the RWA has itself identified, in the longer term the problems associated with the impact of the main roads will be dealt with by broader regional transport initiatives.

REDWatch is in agreement with the RWA that the Gibbons and Regent Street main road twin pair cause major problems for a functional town centre. They effect movement to and from the Station, to connecting public transport and to areas east of the railway station. REDWatch appreciates the RWA’s work to find solutions to these problems with other Government departments.

It is REDWatch’s view however that these problems should be addressed in the Redfern Station Upgrade and with the RTA and that the cost for minimizing the impact of state infrastructure problems on Redfern Waterloo should be born by the State Government in a budget allocation and not by Developer Contributions earmarked to improve the local public services and amenity of the Redfern Waterloo area.

REDWatch notes that almost 41% of the Works Schedule to be paid for by developer levies are to be allocated to “Traffic management on Gibbons Street to improve pedestrian safety and amenity along street and improve traffic circulation.” This is in addition to the 8% of the proposed Works Schedule being set aside for “Creation of new civic space and upgrade to Redfern Street thoroughfare in the Redfern Railway Station, Gibbons and Regent Streets site. This includes, site preparation, planting (planting beds, tree pits and trees), irrigation, paving, street furniture, lighting, and public art.”

REDWatch is of the view that the $15 million allocated to the traffic management should be made for the provision of other facilities in the Redfern Waterloo area. In particular the RWA should consider using these resources to address the needs for community facilities identified through out the RWA Human Services Plan consultations and in ensuring that services are scaled up to meet the needs of the increased population who live and work in the area.

In conclusion REDWatch would have liked to see a broader consultation with the community about which works should have been placed on the schedule. While many of the initiatives for creation of public parks and open space are welcomed by REDWatch we are confident that a broader consultation process would have also generated some useful ideas including some of those mentioned above.

One additional suggestion that we are aware of is being put forward by some of those associated with the former Eveleigh Railyards. They are suggesting an historical walk and interpretive strategy that would link together the historical sites identified by the RWA as a way of telling the story of the area and the vast array of people who worked and lived in the area. REDWatch is of the view that such an approach should be taken up by the RWA and that it could be worthy of funding under the Works Schedule.

We hope that the above suggestions will be useful to the RWA in finalising the contributions Plan 2006 and the RWA for the opportunity to make these brief comments on the Plan.

Should you wish to discuss our submission I would be happy to do so.

Yours Faithfully,

Geoffrey Turnbull                                                                       
REDWatch Spokesperson
c/- PO Box 1567
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012                                            
Ph Wk: (02) 9318 0824                                                      
email: mail@redwatch.org.au

REDWatch is a residents and friends group covering Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo (the same area covered by the Redfern Waterloo Authority). REDWatch monitors government activities such as the RWA and seeks to ensure community involvement in all decisions made about the area. More details can be found at www.redwatch.org.au.