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The details below provide some information on OPen Space issues that relate to Redfern Waterloo.

What’s the problem?

A large new workforce and a significant number of new residents is proposed in the RWA’s Draft Redfern-Waterloo Built Environment Plan – but no new open space is proposed except for areas within the Australian Technology Park.

Why does this matter?

Redfern-Waterloo’s open space is already well below the standard set in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EPA Act) of 2.83 hectares per 1,000 people - that’s 28.3 square metres per person.

Last May, the figures quoted were “an average of 5.9 square metres per person …….. in Redfern-Waterloo [which] is below the city average of 6.6 square metres” (quoted from the Private Members Statement made to the NSW Parliament on 25 May 2005 by Clover Moore, MP).

Whether the standard used is the one in the EPA Act, or you simply compare Redfern-Waterloo with the rest of the City, the only conclusion is that the area has too little open space.

Even that is not the end of the story, as too little of the open space is local open space – and it’s not good enough for the RWA to suggest that district and regional parks can fill the gaps.

What’s wrong with trying to make district and regional parks do the work of local open space?

This suggestion ignores the realities of daily life in Redfern-Waterloo.  Half the households do not own a car and so rely on public transport for access to district and regional open space.  However, the local public transport services are inadequate for this purpose, as they primarily pass through the area on their way to or from the city.  This creates open space access problems for people who are elderly and/or infirm, and for families with young children.

Residents are therefore forced to seek more indoor (and passive) recreation pursuits, or - if they do have a car - to generate greenhouse and other negative effects by driving to wherever district or regional open space is located (assuming they can park when they get there!).

What do we need?

What we need is local, usable, public open space – and not just bits of paved/landscaped area in the town centre, or private open space within or around new apartment blocks.

How do we get it?

By persuading the RWA to create zoned public open space in the Built Environment Plan.

Why does open space need to be zoned in?

Because unless it is zoned in, we’re unlikely to get it.

Developer contributions are not the answer for several reasons:

§          unless areas are zoned for open space, decisions on the location of any new open space will be made on an ad hoc basis

§          developer contributions, if used to buy land for open space, won’t help Redfern-Waterloo get above its current standard of open space provision, as NSW Land and Environment Court judgements (in relation to councils) mean that developers can’t be levied for more open space than the existing per capita average in the council area

§          the contributions could be applied to the upgrade of existing open space rather than the creation of new open space.

What can we do about it?

Write to the RWA by 5.00 pm on Friday, 14 April 2006 letting it know how important local open space is to you - and why - and that you want it zoned into the Built Environment Plan.


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