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ILC response to Community Concerns about the NIDC Development

This is the text of a handout produced by the ILC for their Open Day at the the former Redfern Public School on 26th June 2008. The handout responds to a number of issues raised during the public exhibition of the concept plan for the proposed National Indigenous Development Centre and sets out the ILC's response.

Summary of Public Exhibition submissions to the Department of Planning and the ILC response to these issues:


Activation of Community Sports and Recreation Centre to George Street and Surveillance

The Department of Planning raised concerns about the limited interaction the building has with the public domain and the lack of surveillance to the building from George St.

The ILC responded by re-designing the George and Renwick St facades to include additional glazing to the street to allow for improved interaction with the Street and increased surveillance. This has resulted in the reorientation of the indoor sports court to allow for an additional activity room at the George St level.

Suitability of Community Sports and Recreation Centre in Heritage Streetscape

The concerns raised relate generally to the design of the new building in comparison to the terrace houses on George St. It should be noted that whilst the terrace development of George Street is significant, it occupies less than 50% of the street frontages from Redfern to Phillip Streets. The rest of the street is a mix of 19th and early 20th century industrial development and late 20th Century 3 – 4 storey apartment buildings.

The height of the Community Sports and Recreation Centre at 9.2m above pavement to the north and 10.8m to the south is similar in height to many of the adjoining terrace house buildings (ranging from 6.5m to 9m) and less in height than many of the older industrial buildings, which reach 11 m, and the and the recent apartment buildings which range from 8.5m to 13.2m.

Perimeter Fencing

Concerns were raised about the height and design of the perimeter fencing. The ILC has consulted widely with the NSW Police (Redfern Local Area Command) and the proposed NIDC tenants, operators and hirers to determine the best security measures applicable to the facility. The chosen fence heights and design were preferred by the NSW Police both to provide security for the site from unauthorised access but to reduce the chance of Hostel visitors leaving the site without supervision. Both are considered serious safety risks for a Centre catering primarily for children.

Loss of Tress and Vegetation

Concerns were raised about the loss of trees and vegetation on the site.

The ILC has tried to retain as many significant trees as possible within the development and extensive consultation with the Project Arborist was undertaken in the early planning stage in an attempt to reduce the number of trees requiring removal. In many instances the Arborist did not consider a change of design was warranted based on tree health, condition and landscape significance of individual trees.

The Arborist strongly recommended replacing trees with more suitable species and in more appropriate locations and within suitable planting beds, rather than attempting to retain inappropriate species in poor locations. This approach ensures the landscape’s long term maturity and the health and safety of the public.

The NIDC landscape plan includes the planting of 100 trees of species which are suitable to the climate and soil types. The proposed tree species are predominantly native to Australia and include Banksias, Spotted Gums, Cabbage Tree Palms, Brushboxes, Tree Ferns, Tuckeroos, Blueberry Ash, and Kauri Pines. A large number of native shrubs and groundcovers also form part of this proposal. An additional 13 new street trees will be planted as part of the public domain plan.

The ILC will transplant some of the plants within the native botanic garden at the George St boundary of the site, including the Xanthorrhea (grass tree) which will be relocated on the George St frontage adjacent to the heritage building at the corner of George and Phillips Streets. This new garden bed will be also be a native botanic garden, expanded to include plant species from all over Australia, as a representation of the Centre’s ‘national’ status.

Cope St Retaining Wall

Concern was raised about the bulk scale of the proposed new retaining wall to Cope Street. The new wall supports the change in levels for the construction of the new playing field.

The ILC has endeavoured to reduce the impact of the retaining wall along Cope St by the reduction in the height of the wall by approximately 850mm. The wall will be a ‘green wall’ planted with ivy. This initiative will further reduce the impact of the retaining wall on the streetscape and will help mitigate possible graffiti.

Pedestrian Link from Renwick to Cope Street

Concerns were raised about the increased noise and risk of vandalism to neighbouring properties resulting from the proposed pedestrian link.

The pedestrian link was a request from the City of Sydney’s Traffic Committee and a condition of the ILC’s application to close the Renwick Street laneway.

The pedestrian link provides a safe and convenient access point and is free of bends or blind corners. It will be lit to the required street lighting standards and be bounded by palisade security fence making it a visually open and safe pedestrian facility. The link is 30m in length with site-lines along its length.

The ILC will also be installing CCTV cameras in the Renwick St car park area

Currently Renwick Street is a cul-de-sac arrangement which is degraded, has no security provisions and attracts a range of anti-social behaviours. The ILC manages regular syringe and rubbish removal in an attempt to maintain an appropriate level of health and safety for the local residents. The NSW Police were also consulted in the provision and support the design of this pedestrian link.

Residential Amenity

Concerns were raised about the potential noise and proposed hours of operation of the Community Sports and Recreation Centre and playing field.

The noise management strategy for the development focuses on managing noise both by careful design of the facilities and appropriate operation..

The ILC has reviewed the acoustic treatment to the Community Sports and Recreational Centre and will continue to monitor throughout the building construction stage to ensure the building meets the appropriate acoustic ratings as determined by the Project Acoustic Engineer.

With regard to the playing field, while the centre will strive to maximise occupancy given the nature of the groups who will use the site and the length of stay (2 – 5 nights), the field will not be in use every night of the week. It is likely that Sunday night and Tuesday nights as a minimum will typically be down times. The field will not be used past 10pm.

Sustainable Development
The ILC acknowledge that there are 2 public pools in the local vicinity however, one is only operational in the summer months and the other located too far from the local Redfern area to be in walking distance for local children. In addition, the ILC consider the inclusion of a pool as a fundamental element of the facilities offered at the NIDC.

The inclusion of a pool significantly increases opportunities for cross training of athletes at the centre, the provision of programs and events for the local community including a local leisure pool, learn to swim and water safety training as well as lap swimming for local residents.

The ILC is very conscious of the need to conserve water and energy as they are some of the main sustainability issues affecting Sydney. The ILC intends capturing all roof water from the new construction building and redirecting to storage tanks under the field for use as irrigation water for the field, ensuring only minimal Sydney Water supply is needed for maintenance activities.

Traffic and Parking

Concerns were raised about the provision of parking on the site and the impacts on the current traffic flow for the local streets.

Given the operational nature and proposed uses of the NIDC facility the main users of the centre will not travel to the facility by car but by public transport, bicycle or foot.

Since the submission to the Department of Planning, ILC and City of Sydney have negotiated ownership of the proposed new car park adjacent to Renwick Street at the northern end of the site. As a result approx 50% of the car parking spaces will be within the NIDC site, thereby increasing the number of spaces available to visitors to the NIDC.

NIDC also benefits from its proximity to the Redfern train station and major bus routes and it would be expected that the majority of staff, if not from the local area, would commute by train or bus.

The NIDC design includes the relocation of the George St pedestrian crossing to provide better access to the site and local streets. The construction of the new Renwick St car park will continue to allow for vehicle turn-around.

Construction Damage

The ILC has engaged a reputable building firm through an initial expression of interest and subsequent select tender process. The successful contractor was required to meet certain government regulations and codes of compliance for the building industry.

A Construction Management Plan is required by the Department of Planning prior to the construction commencement and this will indicate how adjoining properties will be protected throughout the construction including temporary hoarding, temporary shoring if necessary, security fencing and communication with adjoining owners.

Dilapidation surveys of all adjoining properties were undertaken by the Contractor in May 2008. These surveys have been provided to the relevant property owners as a record of the condition of property prior to the start of construction.

Source: ILC Handout at Open day 26th June 2008.