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Go back to the drawing board!

Go back to the drawing board! “Send them back to the drawing board” is the message the City of Canterbury Bankstown has sent the NSW Government, regarding its Draft Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy. No  

"Send them back to the drawing board" is the message the City of Canterbury Bankstown has sent the NSW Government, regarding its Draft Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy.

Overnight, Council approved its 100-page submission to the Government.

"Just start from scratch. It’s bad enough the Government is looking to cram an extra 35,000 plus dwellings along the railway line in buildings up to 25-storeys," Mayor Khal Asfour said.

"But it has also not identified where it proposes to build the new hospitals, schools and parks required to support that growth. In fact, it’s not even indicated how many may be required.

"You just can’t click your fingers and major infrastructure magically appears but it seems this is the smoke and mirrors approach of this Government.

"All our 15 Councillors are united on this matter. There is no way we will support this Strategy, particularly the proposed four Priority Precincts at Belmore, Campsie, Canterbury and Lakemba.

"In just these four centres, about 16,000 dwellings are proposed to accommodate around 40,000 extra residents. We fear these areas will become concrete jungles."

Mayor Asfour was scathing of the Department of Planning and Environment.

"The Department plays hard-ball when proposed development doesn’t meet the criteria when it comes to scale, supporting infrastructure and impacts on existing communities, yet it’s not meeting the Government’s own standards," Mayor Asfour said.

"The Strategy is based on the assumption new residents will use the proposed Sydney Metro but let’s get real, the preferred mode of transport remains the car for the majority of residents.

"Yes, it would be great if most residents take the train and maybe we can achieve that at some point in the future, but what about today, now, and the short and medium term?

"Detailed transport and traffic studies, which outline the delivery of a fully-funded and integrated transport network are required. They seemed to have been important for other corridor projects, such as the Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Project and the Canterbury Road Review, so why not here.

"We are two years and two exhibitions into the process, and the Government still doesn't know the impact this growth would have on traffic and transport networks.

"And, we need the different Government agencies to not only be talking but working together, not in isolation. This Strategy needs to be consistent with both the Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan and Draft South District Plan. At present, they contradict because the latter advocates for well-connected centres, transport interchanges and roads and paths that make it easier for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to move around."

Mayor Asfour said the lack of open space is also a major concern.

"The Draft South District and Greater Sydney Region Plans state all residential areas should be within 400 metres of open space and all high-density residential areas should be within 200 metres of open space, but this Strategy doesn’t account for how or where these parks will go," Mayor Asfour said.

"An Open Space Study is necessary so the Government can identify practical open spaces.

"It’s all well and good to suggest school playing fields could be opened to the public, but the Department of Education’s current policy doesn’t allow it."

In summary, the fundamental issues include:

  • Ensuring dwelling growth occurs only once there is an established and funded infrastructure delivery plan;
  • Addressing significant inconsistencies between the Strategy and adopted Government Policy;
  • Identifying appropriate sites for new schools;
  • Identifying improvements to hospitals and health services to support the expected population growth;
  • The Draft Strategy must reflect ‘work in progress’ status of the Priority Precincts, as the decision to show proposed building heights has fuelled intense speculation and created expectations about the outcomes ahead of planning for these centres;
  • Recognising Bankstown as an emerging health and education precinct, as identified in the Draft South District Plan;
  • Considering heritage and character in all areas where change is proposed; and
  • Ensuring the NSW Government collaborates with Council on any proposed masterplan for Canterbury Racecourse.

"We need the Government to start listening to Council and our residents," Mayor Asfour said.

 8/03/2018 10:10 AM