Last week the Greater Sydney Commission published its report on the “Western Harbour Precinct including the Pyrmont Peninsula.” The report proposes to undertake a 9-12 month process to develop a new master plan for the precinct, along with an economic strategy and a governance model.
The Committee for Sydney agrees with these recommendations and commends the GSC for its work. It’s clear that a broader vision is required for the area, which sets out a wider strategic plan for development and public investments.
Over the past year, the Committee has convened a Western Harbour Alliance of major stakeholders across Pyrmont, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo to develop and outline this strategic approach. We will be launching our ideas at a Western Harbour Summit on 4 December – more details to come soon.
In our view, the Western Harbour is an ideal location to “go big.” We propose that Sydney embrace a vision of a mixed use, high rise neighbourhood that celebrates its waterfront location and creates a highly walkable public realm. It should be viewed as an extension of the CBD and a highly visible part of the Sydney urban fabric, a place with as much potential as Circular Quay.
To make this vision a reality requires an urban design vision that will support great buildings, but even more importantly, that will restore and enhance the quality of the public realm for people on foot.
A new master plan provides an opportunity to develop this vision over the next 9-12 months; implementation of the master plan will require major investments by Government and by private land owners.
We interpret the proposal to develop a new governance model as an opportunity to ensure alignment between the City of Sydney and the New South Wales Government – something we believe is essential for obtaining good outcomes in the precinct. The goal of master planning is to achieve a consensus vision about what kind of place this should become; clarity about the development controls to achieve that vision; and clarity about the public realm improvements that need to happen.
Finally, we would note that this vision of a successful, high amenity urban place is much more likely to succeed if is supported by a metro stop, providing connectivity to the rest of Sydney and making it possible to add density without adding car trips.