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Open space to get tighter - 29.11.2004

The residents of Redfern and Waterloo have only half the amount of open space as other inner-city suburbs. But by the time a secret government plan for redevelopment is finished, they will have less than a quarter - because the existing population will have doubled.

Cabinet papers seen by the Herald show that the plan to squeeze in more people will put more pressure on open space which the Government privately concedes is already too limited.
"With any increase in the local population, open space provision will be well below the benchmarked standard," the papers say.
They also point out that a large proportion of the people living in the area are less mobile than many other Sydney residents and do not have easy access to open areas such as Sydney Harbour.

One proposed solution is to take them to Centennial Park, the Royal Botanic Gardens and eastern suburbs beaches by bus. Another is to make it easier to walk and cycle to nearby open space.
The plan also appears to dampen hope of Redfern Oval remaining a sporting facility, because it will be needed for a village green.
"It is recommended that no government funds are allocated to developing Redfern Oval as a sporting venue," the papers say.

Redfern Public School playground, which is no longer needed by the Education Department, has been earmarked as a possible new public park.
The papers also recommend that developers in the area pay a new "community levy" that would be used to create and embellish open space near Redfern train station.

By Gerard Ryle and Debra Jopson

Originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald
November 29, 2004