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North Eveleigh – questions persist

The reshuffle in the NSW Government, with a new Minister for Redfern-Waterloo, Kristina Keneally, and a new Premier, Nathan Rees, “creates a unique opportunity to rethink the methodology of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority,” said REDWatch spokesperson, Geoff Turnbull reports Kate Lamb in the South Sydney Herald of November 2008.

In a meeting with Ms Keneally last week, he raised issues of accountability and transparency within the RWA. Mr Turnbull admitted that Ms Keneally was “keeping cards close to her chest”. Although there were no definitive outcomes of that discussion, he was pleased that she was at least meeting with key stakeholders to assess the issues in the area.

“The review period of the RWA body, designated for late 2009, is a chance for the community to open up a dialogue about potential exit strategies,” Mr Turnbull said.

Local resident and town planner, Bruce Lay, believes that unresolved issues and rushed planning on the proposed development in North Eveleigh, highlight the need to re-evaluate the existence of the authoritative body. “There are inherent conflicts of interest,” he says, “between mixing up power control with developmental and planning control”.

Mr Lay believes that the North Eveleigh concept plan is looking increasingly flawed under technical analysis. The proposed designs do not satisfy a range of basic technical issues, such as increased parking facilities and equity of access for pedestrians and cyclists on Wilson Street.

Mr Lay is also unhappy with the proposed density – people to land ratio – of the current model. The proposal will exceed prevailing guidelines by up to four times the normal level. Open space requirements that must accompany all new major development sites in the inner city, he claims, are unsatisfactory in the North Eveleigh concept plan.

Lack of community consultation is a concern for both Mr Turnbull and Mr Lay. The RWA process for the North Eveleigh plan involved a public exhibition that was followed by community feedback. Some modifications of the plan have been implemented as part of this process. However, the revised concept plan is no longer open to public revision or consultation.

Photo: Ali Blogg - Bruce Lay

Source: South Sydney Herald November 2008