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ILC - National Indigenous Development Centre - Open House Q & A's

The following summary of the questions asked at the NIDC Open House and the responses was released on 22 march 2007. Please send through any questions or comments that you may have regarding this project to the consultants whose details are at the foot of this page.

Open House Public Information Event

On March 1st the Indigenous Land Corporation held an ‘open house’ information event to provide information about their proposed development of a National Indigenous Development Centre at the old Redfern Public School site. Anyone with an interest in the proposal was able to drop in to learn about the proposal, talk to ILC representatives, ask questions and provide feedback.

Most of the issues and questions raised by community members at the open house tended to fall into three broad categories.

  1. Issues for near neighbours and local residents
  2. Issues of how the local community will be involved
  3. Operational and management issues

1. Issues for near neighbours and local residents

A number of residents in the large block immediately to the north of the site on George Street asked about the trees that currently provide them with shade, privacy, and a sense of the natural environment. They asked whether the trees will be removed.


The project team heard from residents that the trees on the northern boundary provide privacy from the school site, they look nice and they encourage birds and other creatures. One resident has since emailed a photo of the trees from his living room, and a short video taken from his balcony. This information has all been useful in providing a view from the neighbours' perspective.

As residents heard on the open house day, all trees on the property have been assessed by an arborist, for significance and health as a first step in an overall landscape plan. The plan will ultimately see many trees planted across the site.

With regard to the specific trees along the northern boundary, the building design requires that many be removed, and that some decontamination work take place. However, having heard from residents at the open house, the project team has undertaken to look again at the species of tree that will go back in along that boundary. The original plan called for cabbage tree palms, but the team is considering alternate native species that will create a fuller canopy with the privacy and other benefits that provides.

Questions were raised about the parking and traffic flow impacts in George and Renwick Streets.


The turn around capacity of Renwick Street has been maintained within the current car park layout via three-point turn arrangement.  Traffic engineers have modelled the plan to ensure garbage trucks and other vehicles can turn properly in this area. 

The master plan makes the best use of the site and all its access points taking into consideration adjoining streets. The number of vehicles accessing Renwick Street is anticipated to be less than the numbers that were using it in a drop off capacity while the school was operating. George Street is the designated drop off point for the centre.

The majority of users travelling to the NIDC will arrive by coach, and on-site coach parking is provided for four 22 seater buses. The design also provides for seven on-site car spaces for user groups/tenants of the NIDC.  Given the proximity of Redfern train station users will be encouraged to use public transport during their stay.

The master plan provides a 19 bay car park that the ILC intends will be owned and operated by City of Sydney Council for use during the day by NIDC and available at night for local residents.  The management details of the car park are yet to be determined by Council and ILC. 

Questions were asked about the design of the Murawina childcare centre and how the new building and playground would present to neighbouring properties. 


The wall at the northern boundary is designed to reduce noise from the Murawina playground so it has to be ‘continuous material’ without openings. The colour and choice of material for the wall is yet to be confirmed, but issues such as the surrounding environment and design of the NIDC will be taken into account.

A strategy for dealing with graffiti for the NIDC will be developed as part of the overall Centre’s operational plan. Any large wall areas that are exposed to the general public will either feature local community art projects or be treated with anti-graffiti paint to enable easy removal of graffiti.

The matter of unauthorised access from the northern wall to the neighbouring property’s roof top and pool area is one that needs to be addressed by the apartment’s body corporate. Unauthorised access is an existing problem for this apartment block.

Questions were raised about the impact on neighbours of noise created by the childcare centre, the PCYC and other activities.


Outdoor play areas have been located to take into account many site constraints.  The Playground that faces Renwick Street is designed for a maximum group of 20 children, 0-2 years old who will use the space twice a day for a maximum of 90 minutes per day. The recommendations of our acoustic consultant have been incorporated into the overall design.  The noise emissions from the site will not exceed the regulation levels and will be consistent with the noise levels previously experienced when the site was an operating school.                                                                                                                               

Questions were asked about how security is going to be maintained, and whether there will be any impacts for local residents and businesses.


The National Indigenous Development Centre will feature:

  • Suitable spaces for structured activities at night time
  • Dormitories configured so student rooms are near the rooms of supervisors
  • At least one adult per seven students to provide supervision

The site will be built to ensure the safety and security of students by making sure they stay on the site at all times.  

  • Internal security fences at 1.8m
  • External security fences at 2.4m

Questions were asked about the way the NIDC will look.


The approval process requires Design Excellence in architecture and landscape, including the use of quality materials. The design of new buildings has been sympathetic to the existing heritage streetscape.  Heritage buildings will be refurbished to more accurately reflect their original condition

Heights of new buildings are less than are allowed in the Redfern Waterlooo Authority Built Environment Plan.

New buildings have been set back where possible given the constraints of the site and the purpose of the buildings. The Murawina childcare centre playground and building has been designed around retaining existing significant trees.

The PCYC building is set back 3 m in some areas. Noise generated by the PCYC facility has also been assessed by our specialist acoustic consultant and the building has been designed to ensure it complies with allowable levels of noise.

2. Issues of local community involvement

A number of people asked about how the Indigenous Land Corporation intends to provide opportunity for locals, both in terms of employment and the activities and facilities of the Centre.


Whilst the NIDC is a national centre and will cater for groups of young male and female Indigenous people from across Australia, many of its facilities and the programs operating from the Centre are specifically tailored to the local community, including:

  1. PCYC facilities and programs such as:

·        Computer and learning centre

·        Arts & crafts

·        Photography lab

·        Boxing ring and gym

·        Exercise and weights gym

·        Sports hall

·        25 m outdoor heated swimming pool

  1. Exodus programs specifically cater for locals:
  2. Murawina is also specifically caters for locals.

The management and operations of the NIDC will also provide employment and training opportunities in the areas of Centre Management, hospitality, landscaping and groundskeeping. In addition, with the expanded programs of organisations such as Murawina, NASCA and PCYC, their need for full and part time employees is expected to increase.

A community art project for retaining walls that are exposed to the general public (e.g. Cope St western boundary and Renwick St western boundary) is also being considered by the ILC.

Questions were asked about whether the local community will be able to access the centre, and in particular, the open space.

The security of the site and of students is paramount to the centre’s success, so it will not be a public open space that is accessible to all. The existing open space on the site will become the training oval, available for community use through a booking/user pays system.

A pedestrian link between the Renwick St carpark and Cope street will be created along the northern boundary of the oval.

The ILC is continuing to work on how the facilities of the Centre will be made available to the local community, and is interested in feedback on this issue. Nominated User-Groups will have priority in accessing the NIDC but the facilities such as the oval, dining room, swimming pool etc will be available for community use through a booking/ user-pay system

Additional space will be available for lease in the Centre.

3. Operational matters

A number of questions were asked about how the NIDC will operate. Specifically, questions were asked about how the Centre will be owned and managed into the future.


The National indigenous Development Centre is an important and strategic project for the Indigenous Land Corporation. It is different to our other land acquisition projects. ILC will be involved in the long-term management / upkeep of NIDC.

  • There will be Independent Centre Management – perhaps 2 full-time employees
  • A Management Board comprised of User-Group / tenant reps
  • Long-term strategy for divestment of property to capable/viable Aboriginal organisation

Any monies raised through commercial lease arrangements is put back into a NIDC sinking fund for the ongoing management and viability of the Centre

4. Other issues

Other issues were raised. They included comments about respecting local Aboriginal culture and history, and self determination. Comments were also made about the importance of respecting the history of the Redfern School site and the broader community.


The ILC is committed to providing social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits to Indigenous Australians through the acquisition and sustainable management of Indigenous-held land. Through supporting organisations that foster talent and deliver key programs to Indigenous youth, the ILC is contributing to the capacity building and good governance structures of Aboriginal organisations.

Comments were made about the importance of keeping drugs out of the area and of making sure that the Centre’s focus was broader than nurturing sporting ability.


The ILC is committed to the creation of a positive, safe and secure facility that supports organisations and programs that target these key areas of disadvantage in Indigenous youth: drug and alcohol abuse / poor education retention rates / high unemployment.

Other questions were asked about how the ILC intends to engage and communicate with local families and individuals.

  • Throughout the design and construction the ILC will be running open houses and briefing community stakeholder groups to ensure they are informed about the project, and have an opportunity to provide feedback.
  • The ILC is interested in engaging the community throughout the construction phase to ensure the effects of construction are minimised.
  • Throughout the project the community will be able to provide feedback and ask questions about the project.
  • The ILC is interested in getting feedback from the community about how the facilities might be used by the local community.

Questions were asked about contamination on the land, and how that is to be managed during construction.


The DA approval process requires a Remediation Action Plan (RAP) to ensure the site is made safe for use as a sports and educational centre. This Plan is verified by an independent Site Auditor before it goes to the Department of Planning for approval.  After remediation the Site Auditor also verifies that works have been carried out in accordance with the RAP.

As part of the Community consultation process, the ILC will be informing local residents about the remediation work program and how this fits in with the broader redevelopment.

For Further Information Contact: Twyford Consulting: Email: Phone: 1800 11 00 55 Post: PO Box 6004  Wollongong NSW 2500.