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RWIU 29 February 2012

In this Update: Greetings for 2012 / Lift Redfern Station Campaign / REDWatch Community Workshop – Planning Basics for Residents – 13 March 2012 / Pemulwuy Project – Exhibition until 29 Feb 2012 - Public Meeting 14 March 2012 / Other Developments / Bye Bye RWA – Hello SMDA … / Flawed BEP2 Stakeholder Report? / SMDA Studies leading to Final BEP2 Controls / Large Erecting Shop Zoning Removed / Heritage Update / Housing NSW Baseline Survey / Housing NSW (HNSW) Masterplan / Council Redefines Village Clusters for its 2030 Planning / Abercrombie Street Upgrade / Sydney University Abercrombie Street Business School / Frank Sartor’s reflections on Redfern Waterloo / Roll Up Redfern / Groundswell / Alexandria Residents Action Group / Ashmore Estate / Finding a Community Service

In this Update:

Greetings for 2012

Lift Redfern Station Campaign

REDWatch Community Workshop – Planning Basics for Residents – 13 March 2012

Pemulwuy Project – Exhibition until 29 Feb 2012 - Public Meeting 14 March 2012

Other Developments

Bye Bye RWA – Hello SMDA …

Flawed BEP2 Stakeholder Report?

SMDA Studies leading to Final BEP2 Controls

Large Erecting Shop Zoning Removed

Heritage Update

Housing NSW Baseline Survey

Housing NSW (HNSW) Masterplan

Council Redefines Village Clusters for its 2030 Planning

Abercrombie Street Upgrade

Sydney University Abercrombie Street Business School

Frank Sartor’s reflections on Redfern Waterloo

Roll Up Redfern

Groundswell

Alexandria Residents Action Group

Ashmore Estate

Finding a Community Service

Have Your Say - Summary of Current Consultations (looks at current consultations on the REDWatch website)

Coming Events (looks at the current events listed on the REDWatch website)

Greetings for 2012

It has again been a long break since we put out our last RWIU after Trevor Davies passed away. Life has been quite hectic since then. Lyn has been one of the people who threw themselves into some of the ‘Trevor shaped holes’. In her case she has picked up Trevor’s role as News Editor of the South Sydney Herald which in February published its 100th issue. Geoff too has started to do more short news stories for the South Sydney Herald in the absence of Trevor’s Fast News, so RWIUs have been on the back burner – hopefully you have been taking an occasional look at the REDWatch website or its RSS feed to keep an eye on what has been happening. While the end of 2011 was relatively quiet 2012 started with a bang, so despite the delay we thought we should get something out to bring people up to date with what is happening.

Lift Redfern Station Campaign

It is time to do something about Redfern Station. A 2003 community forum was told that unless the Government intervened, Redfern Station would not be upgraded until 2011. Both 2011 and Government interventions have come and gone, and the 20 year old promise that access would be addressed by a station upgrade could still be another 20 years away, when lifts are needed now. One of the problems seems to be that Redfern Station is not on the Easy Access Program list see Redfern Station Easy Access Estimates response - Nov 2011. Instead it is expected that Redfern Station access will be fixed as part of a full station upgrade, but this keeps being pushed back. In 2003 the community suggested that in the interim the installation of one lift would at least allow people to change at Central and to use one accessible platform at Redfern Station, but we have not seen that either.

A campaign to get lifts installed at Redfern Station, under the banner “Lift Redfern”, is being supported by a wide range of organisations including business, the arts, the Aboriginal communities, community services, resident groups and local political party branches. The list keeps growing but you can see it at Who is behind Lift Redfern. A key part of the “Lift Redfern” campaign is to get the appalling lack of access at Redfern Station debated in the NSW Parliament and for the Legislative Assembly to call upon the “Minister of Transport to take immediate action to install lifts to Redfern Station platforms”. The Premier put in place a procedure where a 10,000 signature petition would generate a Parliamentary debate. The campaign does not aim to tell Government how to deliver access it simply says we want lift access and we want it now!

You can join the campaign today by downloading the petitions Lift Redfern Petition - Portrait (302 KB PDF) or Lift Redfern Petition - Landscape (226KB PDF) and by getting signatures.

You can support the campaign if you share and comment on the Lift Redfern Facebook page. You can also visit the website at www.liftredfernstation.wordpress.com for more information and to share your stories about how Redfern Station affects your life. You can also Join Lift Redfern Supporters Email List to find out more about the campaign as it unfolds. Lift Redfern can be contacted on liftredfern@gmail.com.

There will be a “Platforms & Carriages Week” push which will roll out on Monday 19th March leading into a month long signature push. One recent article in the Hub covered some of the issues in Getting off at Redfern: wheelchair access denied. The South Sydney Herald will cover Lift Redfern in its March 2012 issue.

REDWatch Community Workshop – Planning Basics for Residents – 13 March 2012

Is planning speak a fog to you? Do you want to know how building designs are determined and how the Planning system works? If so then you may be interested in a Community Workshop REDWatch is putting on with Professor Peter Phibbs, to help everyday residents find out who decides what, how to find meaning in all that jargon - terms like DA, LEP, DCP, Master Plan, SEPP – and how residents can influence planning decisions. Peter Phibbs runs a day course at UWS aimed at non-planners and we have asked him to come to Redfern and run a session for any residents who would like to know more about planning.

Planning Basics for Residents will be held on Tuesday 13 March 2012 at Redfern Community Centre, 29 Hugo Street Redfern (near Redfern Station). This is a two hour session from 6-8pm but please get there before 6pm as we need to start promptly at 6pm. You can download a poster / flyer for this forum at Planning Basics for Residents - Tuesday 13th March 2012 Poster (121 KB PDF).

This workshop is funded with a grant from Project Local. REDWatch was successful in obtaining $2,500 funding through the first round of Project Local community voting run through Central Magazine - see REDWatch Project Local Winner. The project will provide REDWatch with the resources to run a series of four larger community forums as well as to better resource its everyday activities.

Pemulwuy Project – Exhibition until 29 Feb 2012 - Public Meeting 14 March 2012

The Pemulwuy Project has been on exhibition from mid-January until 29 Feb 2012. There are two exhibitions for the project happening simultaneously to satisfy different planning requirements. The department describes the first proposal as a “modification of the approved concept plan for a mixed use development of the site comprising: affordable and student housing units, commercial, retail, community and cultural facilities, public open space, landscaping and car parking, to permit: a higher total gross floor area (GFA); less retail/commercial community and cultural facilities GFA; more residential and public open space GFA and more car parking; and no community re-use of 1-11 Vine Street” - Environmental Assessment Modification of Concept Plan Approval No 06_0101.pdf (514KB PDF). The second proposal is a “Project Application for the demolition of existing improvements on the land and construction of the mixed use development in accordance with the concept plan, incorporating the proposed modifications” Environmental Assessment _ Project Approval Application No 11_0093.pdf (1.5MB PDF). All the supporting Appendices are the same for both exhibitions and can be found under Pemulwuy Mixed Use Development Concept Plan MP06_0101 MOD 1.

The project has changed a number of times over the last couple of years. One of the big changes has been the decision to include commercial student housing along the railway line as one of the income streams for the development to support affordable housing on The Block. The Murrawina site becomes part of that site, so a new child care centre is being proposed in Caroline Street adjoining the AHC office building. The Gym moves to the top of The Block with units above it. Town houses continue from it down to the end of The Block. To avoid competition with Wyanga, the proposed Elders’ Centre has gone, but the Cultural Centre and some commercial office space remain next to the railway line. One of the biggest changes, now that the conflict with the state government has disappeared, is that the opening up of The Block by widening the entrance across the railway line at Lawson Street. Gone are the days of the battle with Frank Sartor. He only mentions The Block in passing in his new book in a section about the “Twisted Tales of EM Farrelly”.

One of the major breakthroughs last year came with the announcement that the AHC will receive Federal Affordable Housing Support. Late 2011 saw Council in discussions with the AHC over the transfer of Council Land to the project which included a community meeting at the Redfern Community Centre. The AHC will transfer some land back to Council and some open space on The Block proper will continue to be administered by the AHC rather than see that land alienated from AHC ownership. Council used the transfer to pressure the AHC to remove the commercial parking it had proposed and in return the Council supported higher student housing along the railway line. Council has subsequently resolved to Support the Pemulwuy Project. As some of the Council land is public / community land it is necessary under the EPA Act for there to be a Public Hearing for Reclassification of Council land for Pemulwuy Project. This will be held on 14 March at Redfern Town Hall at 6pm. You can find out more about the proposal at this meeting.

You can find out more about what is and has been happening on The Block including media responses such as The World Todays’ Locals praise plans to bring back The Block and SSH’s Pemulwuy housing made more affordable and Pemulwuy - towards Excavation on the REDWatch website under Pemulwuy Project Modifications 2010-2012.

Other Developments

In addition to the AHC’s Pemulwuy Project which includes student accommodation Urbanest’s proposal for 2-5 storey student housing nearby at 159 - 163 Cleveland Street is also on exhibition until March 2. The details are on the Department of Planning website at http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=4949.

Pitt Street residents fighting an overdevelopment in that Redfern street for the last two years have won a case in the Land and Environment Court – you can read about it in the SMH’s Heritage triumphs in Redfern battle.

Bye Bye RWA – Hello SMDA …

The Redfern Waterloo Authority has finished. Gone are the community grants and the Ministerial Advisory Committees. The RWA website is not being updated but a page provides details of what’s happened to some RWA initiatives and a list of what the RWA thinks was achieved is at Conclusion of the RWA including this Redfern-Waterloo Authority Transition Fact Sheet. Many of the RWA’s functions, including the ATP, have passed to the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority (SMDA) operating out of Government offices near Strawberry Hills Post Office. Its website www.smda.nsw.gov.au now contains earlier RWA material. While the SMDA may only be new there is already speculation that it may not last long and the Minister has gone on record that they are looking into the possibility that the SMDA and Landcom will be combined into a new housing agency - see Sydney Morning Herald’s Plans afoot for new housing agency.

If you would like to read the RWA eulogies from the debate on the Redfern-Waterloo Authority Repeal Bill 2011 you can find them here by speaker:

·         1R,2R Redfern-Waterloo Authority Repeal Bill 2011 - Hazzard Mr Brad

·         2R Redfern-Waterloo Authority Repeal Bill 2011 - Burney Ms Linda; Bassett Mr Bart; Keneally Ms Kristina; Speakman Mr Mark; Moore Ms Clover; Baumann Mr Craig

·         2R;3R Redfern-Waterloo Authority Repeal Bill 2011 - Mason-Cox The Hon Matthew; Foley The Hon Luke; Clarke The Hon David; Shoebridge Mr David; Maclaren-Jones The Hon Natasha; Lynn The Hon Charlie.

The 2010-11 Annual Report of the RWA can be downloaded from the RWA website at 10-11 Annual Report - Full Version (pdf ~3mb) and the ATP Annual report from ATP 2010 - 2011(PDF 6MB). The annual report for the SMDA which overlapped with the RWA can be found at 10-11 SMDA Annual Report  (PDF3.5MB).

Flawed BEP2 Stakeholder Report?

Since the last RWIU the RWA released its BEP2 Stakeholder Engagement Report (PDF 2MB) which reported on the RWA’s BEP2 consultation and the two page RWA response to the report’s recommendations (PDF 22KB). The report contains an analysis of the surveys returned during the BEP2 consultation. REDWatch had concerns about this consultation and how this data has been reported and has extracted from the report the raw data for further analysis. This data has been provided to the RWA/SMDA for checking and can be found at RWA BEP2 Survey Results Data (43KB PDF). The Redfern and Waterloo Community Learning and Research Group, initially set up by Housing NSW with Judy Stubbs as an independent chair, has requested a peer review of the Mediate Today report.

There are many areas of concern about the report. It interprets public housing tenants’ concerns about safety within public housing as something that could be fixed solely by changing the area’s social mix without addressing housing management issues. An issue such as how HNSW administer their allocations and tenancies if addressed would take away a lot of the reasons given for the need to redevelop the estate. Another problem of interpretation involves the comparison between public and private views of the change. The sample sizes of the two groups are so different but no statistical testing to take this into consideration is used.

One of our favourites relates to Question 4 on the feedback form which read: “The highest buildings in Waterloo (Matavai and Turanga) are 30 storeys. The highest buildings in Redfern (Poets Corner) are 17 storeys. Draft BEP 2 proposes heights of 4-12 storeys. Do you have any comments on this?” According to the Mediate Today Report on the RWA’s BEP2, the vast majority of respondents (37 per cent) simply answered “OK” to this statement of fact. Another 18 per cent said they liked 4-12 storeys, and 17 per cent made no comment. In the analysis, what is potentially just people’s agreement with a statement of fact that precedes the question is reported as showing overwhelming support for the RWA 4-12 storey proposal. More worryingly, the report says that this question established a set of categories for analysing the responses “based on RWA and Housing NSW’s need to understand stakeholders’ specific height preferences”. If this was the aim surely it needed to be a multiple-choice answer. Height of course is only one part of the equation and the question omitted anything about density which is the other key planning ingredient.

The problem is that this flawed report forms the basis for subsequent consultations, such as the recent Social Impact Assessment Scoping consultations and the final BEP2, hence the need for a proper peer review. The SMDA in response to the issues raised about the report has said “the data differences are not material. This should also be considered in the context of a report which sought to capture the essence of feedback from forms (and other submission) which was not a strictly scientific exercise, particularly given the open-ended nature of some questions. It is also noted the report sought to capture feedback from a non-statutory consultation process, and further opportunities for public participation and feedback will occur prior to any controls for the BEP 2 sites being completed.”

SMDA Studies leading to Final BEP2 Controls

Unlike the RWA the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority (SMDA) exists solely to look at opportunities for redevelopment in the area. Its initial focus in Redfern Waterloo is to work on the BEP2 areas of consolidated public housing and to finalise planning controls for the public housing redevelopment. To this end the SMDA is undertaking a number of studies which will be summarised in an Urban Renewal Studies Overview Report. This will be exhibited along with the proposed planning controls. It is expected that this will happen around mid 2012 after Housing NSW has finalised its Draft BEP2 for Federal Government reporting. Only after the controls are exhibited and any final changes made will Housing NSW know how high and how many units the controls will allow to be built on the various blocks. The Preliminary Masterplan is being seen as another of the inputs (another study if you like) and it will be reviewed, along with the RWA’s Draft BEP2, by the Government Architect’s Office.

The details of the studies can be found on the SMDA website under at Draft BEP 2 & Urban Renewal SEPP Study. REDWatch has set up a SMDA BEP2 & Urban Renewal Studies section on its website where information will be added as it comes to hand. Below is a summary of the studies based on the SMDA site giving the study, the consultant and what is to be covered:

·         Social Impact Assessment – GHD – The Social Impact Assessment will be building upon previous review work on community facilities, and appropriate scoping for social impact assessment.

·         Communications Strategy – Straight Talk – A Communications Strategy to guide the consultation process and engagement with key stakeholders.

·         Urban Design and Public Domain Study – The NSW Government Architect’s Office - This study is reviewing the previous draft BEP 2 and associated analysis and all submissions received, together with the study requirements from the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure. A separate statement on this was issued by the SMDA under Government Architect to Review Redfern-Waterloo Urban Renewal Plans

·         Transport, Traffic and Accessibility Study – Parsons Brinckerhoff – This study is reviewing previous preliminary work, augmented with more detailed analysis of the wider area and appropriate modelling, in close consultation with Transport for NSW. Parsons Brinckerhoff has previously undertaken the Traffic studies of the Redfern Town Centre, North Eveleigh and Sydney Uni Precinct as well as for BEP2 for the RWA.

·         Economic Analysis – Hill PDA – The Economic Analysis is including the economic/industry profile of the area and retail needs, availability, and impact on centres.

·         Sustainable Servicing and Supporting Infrastructure Capacity Study – Aecom – The Sustainable Servicing and Supporting Infrastructure Capacity Study will be including utility capacity, natural and man-made processes and sustainability measures.

Two other consultants we know were appointed

·         Community Facilities Review – Cred Community Planning – This report did was not finalised and is now incorporated in the GHD Social Impact Assessment Scoping. REDWatch has requested this report be released, but SMDA argue it was not finalised but it is prepared to provide a briefing on the report. REDWatch is having a Community Facilities & Services Roundtable on 1st  March 2012.

·         The SMDA has employed Straight Talk as the consultants to prepare a Communications Strategy to guide the consultation process and engagement with key stakeholders. While consultations have commenced this report, about how the SMDA will consult, has not yet been released. This is a major concern given the issues raised elsewhere in this update about the Draft BEP2 consultation and its report.

The SMDA has commenced work on what was initially referred to as a Social Impact Assessment but now is being referred to as “a Preliminary Social Impact Assessment to help determine the proposed planning controls”. The study will “include work already done on the facilities review” but not released to the community. Under “the current scope the consultants must prepare a brief for a future comprehensive Social Impact Assessment”. Eight focus groups – social housing tenants; Aboriginal organisations; CALD groups; private residents; local businesses and workers; NGOs; Government agencies; Affordable/ Community Housing organisations - are being held during February and March to gain community input to identify potential social impacts that could result from the redevelopment of the HNSW sites. Here you can see the Social Impact Scoping & Assessment Brief and Social Impact Scoping and Assessment for Redfern Waterloo - Focus Group Information Sheet Text

One of the main concerns with the Preliminary Social Impact Assessment Scoping is that it is only sketching out the issues and so far from the focus groups very broadly. The Social Impact Assessment proper will be done as part of the full Masterplan which Housing NSW is on record as saying will be undertaken with the financial support of its commercial partner, i.e. the developer. There is considerable concern that the public interest aspects of these studies need to be well locked down before they become subject to the trade-offs that take place between the developer and Government about what will be delivered. Currently this looks like it will not happen.

REDWatch in February 2012 had a forum about the SMDA studies with a focus on the Social Impact Assessment. Here you can see the SMDA Studies Presentation 2nd February 2012 to REDWatch (2MB PDF). REDWatch also asked an independent expert on Social Impact Assessments to do a presentation about what can go wrong with Social Impact Assessments in long term projects and you can see Alison’s excellent presentation at  Social impact assessment a short explanation - Dr Alison Ziller  (659 Kb PDF) and also look out for her article in the March South Sydney Herald. It is plain that many of the areas of concern to tenants and REDWatch should be covered by the Social Impact Assessment and REDWatch is committed to ensure there is a robust Social Impact Assessment process for Redfern Waterloo.

If you would like to know more about SIAs then you might be interested in reading the Planning Institute of Australia on Social Impact Assessment or in a free seminar on Exploring Social Impact: Effective tools and strategies in community based contexts on Wed 21 March  4pm - 6pm at UTS, Level 3, Mary Ann House, 645 Harris Street, Sydney - registration: ccs@uts.edu.au.

Large Erecting Shop Zoning Removed

After almost six years the 12 storey building zone that threatened the Large Erecting Shop (LES) has been removed. When the RWA rezoned parts of the old Eveleigh Railyards in 2006, Railcorp was intending to dispose of the LES. The RWA rezoned the site so that a building of up to 12 storeys could be built in its place. You may recall there was also a report that said the building was in bad repair and needed to be pulled down which was independently refuted.

Following the long campaign by the Heritage groups and the local community to keep the LES building intact and to keep it functioning as a heritage railway facility, RailCorp announced that it would retain it for Heritage purposes. As the zoning for the redevelopment remained it was possible that RailCorp could have still sold the site with an automatic redevelopment potential of up to 12 storeys. Many people made it plain to the RWA that if it was serious about protecting Eveleigh’s heritage that it needed to remove the BEP1 zoning over the LES. The exhibition to return the LES height controls to its existing height went on exhibition in February for two weeks. It also proposed some welcome variations for use of the site that would allow it to be used for heritage education and training.

We are highlighting this story because many of you have supported the retention of heritage at Eveleigh and campaigned around the presentation of the LES. It is important to reflect that in this case, subject to the outcome from the exhibition, that we all won that battle. There is still some way to go to ensure that the LES returns to active heritage use and does not just become a closed storage facility for RailCorp Heritage assets it has nowhere else to house.

So congratulations to everyone and thank you to the RWA/SMDA for providing the proper controls for the preservation of the LES. While this exhibition has finished you can still see the details of the proposal and the correspondence between the RWA and RailCorp that has delivered what we hope will be this great outcome at Amendment of Redfern Waterloo Authority Sites State Significant Site Listing - Until 15 Feb 2012.

The other important heritage building that had its zoning changed in BEP1 was the Paint Shop. While that zoning still exists, so does the building so that fight is not lost yet.

Heritage Update

February 25th saw ATP return to holding what is proposed to be annual ATP Open Days. Heritage was big on the programme with the Wrought Artworks providing blacksmithing demonstrations, Dick Butcher providing tours around the new viewing area in bays 1&2 North, Interpretation talks about the Eveleigh Hydraulic Power System, Jane Bennett painting and some of Nigel Helyer GhosTrain sounds ringing out on the hour. 3801 Ltd could not get SMR 18 as expected but were very active drumming up tour business.

One of the new initiatives was the inaugural Eveleigh Railway Film Festival 2012 which had many happy patrons thanks to the hard work of Brian Dunnett, Wendy McCaffley, Tom Cowan, Juliet Suich and others. You can see what you missed at ATP Open Day Heritage Tab and on www.eveleigh-railway-film-fest.com and the Screen Hub article Cinema Heritage: Eveleigh Rail Film Festival. Thinking back to the battle to Save the Eveleigh Blacksmith and get a Heritage Taskforce set up, the changes in the last couple of years have been considerable. Having said that many Heritage Issues at Eveleigh are still up in the air and more work is required.

There has been no finalisation of the ATP Conservation Management Plan that covers all the ATP heritage equipment, although there is work being done to preserve some of this equipment currently, but no one knows what the CMP framework will be and what will happen to the material removed from Bays 1 & 2 North for the interpretation area. We have not yet seen the finalisation of the Eveleigh Heritage Interpretation Plan and there has been no replacement for the Redfern Waterloo Heritage Taskforce or the Eveleigh Steering Committee. This is of significant concern as there needs to be a mechanism to co-ordinate heritage activity across the whole site rather than for it to be left up to the various individual land holders like ATP and CarriageWorks to do something for its area. In the lead up to the ATP Open Day the RWA indicated that it was prepared to look at a Heritage event across the entire Eveleigh site in the second half of 2012. Hopefully this can also be progressed in addition to Heritage at the ATP being showcased in ATP Open Days.

Housing NSW Baseline Survey

In August 2011 HNSW released the Baseline Study it commissioned in 2010 of 752 public tenants in Redfern and Waterloo. It is an important document in the discussion about the future of the area’s public housing. Some of the key findings were that 75% of the public housing tenants have lived in the area for over 5 years with 70% agreeing the local area was a good place to live. 82% said it was easy to get around and 73% were happy with the general condition of their homes. The survey also showed satisfaction among 71% of public tenants with the social and community assistance offered. Police were rated well by 69% of tenants for their assistance with crime issues, while Housing NSW rated poorly in this area with only 35% saying HNSW was helpful.

Only 54% of tenants surveyed were satisfied with the service of their local housing office with maintenance the major source of dissatisfaction according to the study. The recently announced HNSW to Introduce Customer Service Standards may go some way to address the rudeness many public tenants complain about, but many of the issues tenants want to see addressed are more systemic and are not in the control of the local housing office. Many of the findings in the baseline study support REDWatch’s view that a priority focus by Housing NSW on its allocations policy, tenant support, customer service, anti-social behaviour and overall place management would have a significant impact on the quality of life of public tenants, probably a much greater impact than the redevelopment of estates that many people are otherwise happy with. Ross Smith has summarised some of the other report findings in his Rimfire Review article Housing NSW Recycles ‘Consultancy’ – A residents view.

One of the problems with the Baseline survey was that it excluded a significant section of the public housing community. Figures from the 2006 census supplied by Housing NSW about its tenants showed that around 22 per cent of the public tenants in Redfern and Waterloo were born overseas with around 45 per cent speaking a language other than English at home. About 65 per cent of units in 2006 were single-person households. Given these demographics it was staggering to see that, for the survey of Redfern and Waterloo tenants, Housing NSW did not provide any translation services to ensure input from this least heard part of the tenant community. The instructions to staff for the HNSW study read: “If the respondent speaks a language other than English and requires the assistance of an interpreter to complete the questionnaire ask for another member of the household who may be able to answer the survey in English. If … no other person … thank and terminate.” Housing NSW has bent over backwards to engage members of the Russian and Chinese community in meetings but this does not overcome their under-representation in the Baseline study.

You can download the Redfern Waterloo Public Housing Tenant Survey (PDF, 2.7MB) from HNSW Redfern Waterloo Redevelopment page

Housing NSW (HNSW) Masterplan

Housing NSW has been working since September on its Preliminary Masterplan for the redevelopment of public housing in Redfern and Waterloo. It is preliminary because the SMDA has not finalised its studies or proposed the final planning controls that will apply to the Masterplan and because the federal funds they received were not sufficient to do a full blown Masterplan which will now be done at a later date with the developer. As Housing NSW applied for and received federal funds it needed to undertake the Preliminary Masterplan arguing that the Federal Government would not allow it to delay its studies. The SMDA started its studies towards the end of 2011 and it will await the outcome of the Masterplan before proposing the controls that will apply. REDWatch has been actively involved in monitoring the process and has met with Minister Hazzard and senior staff in Housing NSW to try to get a more integrated process without success.

HNSW has primarily been focused on the built environment and conducting what are probably best described as capacity building in terms of bus trips to various places to see what has happened elsewhere. You can find out what has been happening in the Community Engagement section of the REDWatch website as HNSW has not been posting material on its own website. Key issues such as how the public housing units are to be managed, how the Government will better support high needs tenants, if social mix works and the advisability of selling off public housing land for private housing have all been off the agenda. You can see more about many of these issues in the Public Housing section of REDWatch’s website.

While HNSW has consultants working away on the Masterplan the only public glimpse of what might emerge came out of the November 2011 design workshops on Redfern and Waterloo. REDWatch has extracted the summary finding from the reports into a smaller document that gives a good overview of what is emerging from the HNSW workshops. You can see the summary under Housing NSW Masterplan takes Shape and the links to the full reports are at the foot of that page. Background materials for the coming Housing NSW sessions can be found on the REDWatch website under Building Design - February & March 2012 and Community Design Workshops - March 2012.

The March Community Design Workshop will the final community consultation process in the Preliminary Masterplan so if you have any concerns about the direction things are taking make your comments known. What is of major concern is that currently there is no exhibition planned for the Preliminary Masterplan prior to it being reported to the Federal Government and used as part of the review of the BEP2 controls by the NSW Government Architect’s Office. Housing NSW is saying it will present the Preliminary Masterplan to the community in the second half of the year. REDWatch has written to HNSW about its concerns arguing that, for all its limitations, the non-statutory exhibition of the BEP2 provided useful input to the RWA/SMDA and that such a process should also be used of the Masterplan. The fear is that Government will start acting on aspects of the Preliminary Masterplan before the community see what is proposed and why. Greg Pearce’s comments in No more public housing estates, pledges minister and the possibility that Redfern Waterloo may be a candidate for the new redevelopment to be announced by the end of the year makes it crucial that what Government is working with on Redfern Waterloo has been subject to community comment.

More information relating to the Masterplan can be found on REDWatch website under HNSW Preliminary Master Plan and also in the section in this update about BEP2 and the interlocking SMDA precinct studies.

Council Redefines Village Clusters for its 2030 Planning

Council has redrawn its village boundaries for community forums and delivery of community services in line with the City’s 2030 strategy. The new boundaries are an important administrative mechanism for Council. It is asking residents for input about their local “Village Groups” to help identify what services and facilities should be in their local community.  Between late February and early April Council will hold community forums in the ten roughly equal sized village groups.

There have been concerns raised about how the boundaries have been drawn, as major arterial roads and railway lines isolate some suburbs from their designated hub. So for example” Redfern St” village group includes Chippendale, but not Redfern public housing which is part of “Crown and Baptist Streets”, while Danks Street, Waterloo Oval and Alexandria Park all become part of “Green Square and City South”. Irrespective of reactions to the new boundaries, the process will set Council’s local agenda for the next few years. So visit www.2030inyourvillage.com.au for information about your “Village Group” and take the opportunity provided to say what you want Council to do in your local community.

Community Forums are being organised by Council in the ten “Village Clusters”. The one for Redfern Street (Council; describes the area as Chippendale, Darlington, Eveleigh, Golden Grove, West Redfern and parts of Waterloo and Alexandria) will be held on Tuesday 3rd April 2012 at Redfern Town Hall from 6-8.30pm. One of the major concerns from the initial village cluster meetings is how the small villages within the cluster will get their dreams for the future addressed when only the most widely accepted propositions are advanced. How the dreams of the many small villages within the City of Villages will be handled in this process remains to be seen.

Abercrombie Street Upgrade

After many years of waiting Darlington Shops and Abercrombie Street look like they will get a bit of an upgrade. Council undertook a week long exhibition in late October 2010 for the upgrade and many people turned out to have their say. The proposal however was only for the southern side of the footpath and involves the widening of the southern side and the undergrounding of electricity delivery to the southern side. There has been concern that the resultant proposal looks like the upgrade of the walking strip rather than a Village Upgrade. When the scoping proposal went to Council a flush road treatment at Ivy Street was added. It was also resolved that a scoping report be prepared for Council covering areas not within the current scoping report including the Northern side of Abercrombie Street. You can find the details at Council Decision on Abercrombie Street Upgrades - Feb 2012.

Ideally we would have liked to have had the plans for Abercrombie Street also discussed by the City of Sydney Redfern Station/Sydney Uni Working Group however despite our efforts we are yet to get a second meeting of this group since it initially met in August 2010 following the Council resolution that established it! This group is supposed to bring together Council, RWA/SMDA, RailCorp Sydney Uni and REDWatch representatives to explore the issues and possible responses.

In late November a BBQ Darlington ALP held a BBQ to discuss a fitting memorial for Trevor Davies and raised around $500 towards a memorial bench in Darlington. This has been pushed as part of the upgrade plans.

Sydney University Abercrombie Street Business School

Sydney University has made major changes to the plans it exhibited in 2011 for its new Business school next to Darlington Primary School and has undertaken a series of meetings in February to show its new proposals before they go to the Department of Planning for re-exhibition. The new plans have reduced the overall bulk and scale of the original proposal, Integrated the Joinery Workshop Building to keep a meaningful heritage connection to previous uses of the site, maintained the large Sydney blue gum tree and the existing corner park as a key part of the landscape strategy, significantly increased building setbacks to Codrington Street and Darlington Public School and increased pedestrian access throughout the development precinct. What has not changed is that the entrance to the development and its underground car park still come off Abercrombie Street. The latter has upset locals who believed the Vice Chancellor and the head of Campus Infrastructure when each said in writing “In response to concerns from residents and parents of school children, we have relocated the entry to the basement car park from Abercrombie Street to Darlington Lane”

By responding to the concerns about a safe path for children through the site the University has left the car park and service entrance and associated traffic as the major issue of concern to residents. The residents Group RAIDD have responded to the University’s latest plans with a media statement Uni Vice Chancellor Backflips. The University is pursuing its earlier Masterplan vision of a pedestrian priority campus with readily accessed car parking stations serviced by arterial, sub-arterial and major local roads. The problem with this aspect of the University’s Masterplan is that in removing motor vehicles from the campus it moves this traffic and associated uses into the surrounding areas many of which are residential areas – nice for the Uni but not so for surrounding residents. Residents are strongly of the view that any University development which may impact on the surrounding area should be located within the University and away from residential areas. This was one of the reasons residents got so upset about the Uni recently moving some of its sporting facilities from within the University to Abercrombie Street. Residents concerned about traffic levels past their homes and the school will not react kindly to the University’s characterization of Abercrombie Street as an underutilized sub arterial road! They would prefer to see parking stations coming off the main roads and for underutilized car parks like the one at the Seymour Centre taking the parking slated for the Abercrombie Street development.

Project information and a model are on display in the foyer of the University’s Services Building, 22 Codrington Street, until Tuesday 20 March between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday and details should be on the Abercrombie Precinct Site in the next few days. After checking by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure the proposal will go on formal exhibition. The University has provided a statement for the South Sydney Herald for their March issue which we will place on the REDWatch website when that issue goes to press.

Frank Sartor’s reflections on Redfern Waterloo

For Christmas our daughter gave Geoff a copy of Frank Sartor’s book “The Fog on the Hill – How Labor Lost its Way”. Given all the conflict over The Block you would think Frank Sartor’s book would have dealt with his fight with the AHC over the future of The Block. No so! It was surprising to see that it rated only a passing mention in a section on “The twisted tales of E.M Farrelly”.

Another section deals with accusations against Kristina Keneally and Tony Pooley over “The Undermining of Robert Domm” which resulted in the investigation of the RWA by the State Internal Audit Bureau. In Sartor’s view “The Redfern-Waterloo Authority had no money, being another example of cosmetic politics, but we had to make it work—and we did, largely due to the efforts of Robert Domm”. You can see more at Sartor: RWA was Cosmetic politics - Robert Domm was undermined.

On the “The Callan Park Mess” Sartor says Keneally planned to ‘compensate’ Sydney Uni for loosing Callan Park, doing it behind the RWA’s back and against a cabinet decision. According to Sartor it didn’t go ahead because, from what he was told, the amount Sydney Uni was prepared to pay was much lower than what the site was worth. You can see what Sartor said at Sartor: Keneally discussed plan for North Eveleigh with Sydney Uni. We asked Sydney Uni to respond for an item in February’s South Sydney Herald and you can see the University of Sydney statement re Frank Sartor on the REDWatch website. The exchange still leaves open the question that if there was a three month window to negotiate a sale and if the University was prepared to pay full market price why did the sale not proceed?

Roll Up Redfern

Roll Up Redfern is finally starting to see some movement on the shutters around Redfern as a result of funding from Council and from the RWA / SMDA to those who are prepared to remove their shutters. It is great to see the change that removing shutters from Marie’s Labels on Sale shop on the corner of Redfern and Regent Streets makes to the area. Congratulations to all. There has also been some media coverage on the change such as the SMH’s Shutters to come down on Redfern's rough reputation.

Groundswell

We announced Groundswell in the last Update as a coalition of Non-Government Agencies and residents which has come together to resource tenants in their understanding of the issues and in their dealings with Government. You can find more information about Groundswell at www.groundswellcoalition.org.au or under Groundswell Redfern Waterloo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/GroundSwell-Redfern-Waterloo/166269223427768.

Alexandria Residents Action Group

In the last Update we mentioned the formation of the Alexandria Residents Action Group (ARAG). This is now a very active group and you can find out more about them at www.arag.org.au

Ashmore Estate

One of the big battles in the area has been over the future of Ashmore Estate. You may recall that the Labor Government instructed Sydney Council to substitute substantially increased height and density over this Erskineville precinct. Council is now exhibiting its own much lower density proposals but locals are not happy and they want the current planning controls to remain. You can find out more about the locals concerns at www.erskinevillevillage.org

Finding a Community Service

Jo Fletcher from Connect Redfern Schools as Community Centres Program has updated its lists for Term 1 2012. You can find the latest lists on the REDWatch website in Connect Redfern under Find a Local Community Service along with other information on finding local services through the Lincs Directory, as well as links to the RWA - Redfern Waterloo Human Service Maps.

We hope you find the information in this email of interest. If you have any feedback or suggestions please contact us.

These Updates are also available as emails. Details about the Redfern Waterloo Issues Update Email list and how to subscribe can be found at: http://lists.redwatch.org.au/mailman/listinfo/update

 

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Upcoming Events
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