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Residents up in arms over Hillsong

Rosebery residents met face-to-face with Hillsong last month to decide the fate of the building of a 2,700-seat mega-church at an old RTA site in Rosebery reports Nicholas McCallum in the South Sydney Herald of March 2008.

Chaired by the City of Sydney Council, the Wesley Conference Centre was packed by residents and bus loads of Hillsong members who had been driven in specifically for the occasion.

Council revealed there had been 170 community objections to the DA, with 63 in favour of the proposal, but the main talking point was traffic.

The Rosebery Residents Action Group stressed the proposed church would have a massive impact on their quality of life in terms mainly of parking, particularly at peak times. There would be a further 1,098 people within the office building and childcare centre, the RRAG estimates, taking the possible total on site to 3,798.

General Manager of the Hillsong Church, George Aghajanian, said 75 per cent of all traffic would arrive and exit from the north of the centre through Kensington but did not talk about the fow-on effect to surrounding areas.

When discussion time came, emotion poured out from members of Hillsong who reminded residents the benefits the church provides within the South Sydney community, including the “street teams” which perform “random acts of kindness”.

A Rosebery resident asked Hill-song members to raise their hands if they lived in Rosebery. Only a few dozen were counted.

It was pointed out by Aghajanian that no other development on the site would offer Rosebery as much accessible public space as the Hillsong DA proposed.

With Lord Mayor Clover Moore looking on, Council’s Giovanni Cirillo compared the Hillsong development application to past applications that had failed to meet the zoning requirements for development on the old RTA site.

The proposed Hillsong church exceeds floor space limits and height limits by 12 metres. The DA also failed to fall within the parking limit allowed by the controls, surpassing it by 313 spaces. SSH

Photo: Ben Bontia - The old RTA site in Rosebery

Source: South Sydney Herald March 2008 -