Source: The Australian Financial Review
Author: Robert Harley
The renewal of The Bays Precinct provides “tremendous opportunities for Sydney, if we get it right”, lord mayor Clover Moore has said.
Many stakeholders in the project, including local government, the Property Council and the Committee for Sydney, have a similarly equivocal view.
The lord mayor said The Bays Precinct could boost the economic life of the city and NSW as well as providing space for universities and a hub for sustainable research, start-ups and creative industries.
“But only if it is not treated as a quarry to deliver stamp duty to state government coffers,” she said.
“Central to the planning for this new precinct must be the recognition that it is publicly owned land and its development must bring clear public benefits
“The community needs to be involved in developing a long term vision that is based on sustainability and design excellence and include affordable housing, public access to the entire foreshore, and development that respects the heritage of the area.
“Once agreed, the vision has to be backed by a long-term plan that goes beyond electoral cycles, including a plan for a staged financial commitment outlining how infrastructure and other facilities will be provided.”
The mayor of the adjoining Leichhardt municipality, Rochelle Porteus, said The Bays offered real opportunities to get public benefits, “and we should because it is public land”.
Her council and residents do not want “more of the same” with piecemeal development, no evidence-based planning, little community involvement and projects driven to a political agenda and timeline.
“We want to see public transport, 25 per cent open space, and good access to the foreshore”, she said.
The NSW executive director of the Property Council, Glenn Byres , said The Bays should not be viewed as an isolated site but as a part of a strategic plan to add value to Sydney for 20 years.
“One of the roles of the summit should be to push the boundaries on what is possible, and not be constrained by a fear of public reaction to bold or big thinking,” he said.
The chief executive of the Committee for Sydney, Tim Williams , said the government needed a different approach to urban transformation and to learn from global best practice.
“We don’t wish to see business as usual,” he said.
Mr Williams stressed the need for cross-government collaboration, a long-term partnership with the private sector and local government.
“Don’t just view this as an opportunity for the government or the private sector to maximise yield and return,” he said, stressing that The Bays must not be captured by Treasury.
“Engage the community deeply and put public transport, ferry, walking and cycling at the heart of The Bays.”
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