- Posted by IanMuttonAdmin
- On August 3, 2023
The HighLine – what’s happening?
COULD IT BE – CLEARING THE HIGHLINE FOR HIGHRISE?
The Sydney Harbour HighLine is the repurposing of Waverton to Lavender Bay rail corridor – it
- is 3.3km long largely street and harbour fronting;
- covers 3.77 hectares;
- runs through a 310 metre tunnel and
- ends in a harbour fronting 2 hectare field.
CLEARING OBSTACLES TO DEVELOPMENT
In 2011 the Government moved to have the Waverton pedestrian underbridge and John Street overbridge removed from the Heritage Register.
In 2012 the Minister for Transport reported on the “Lavender Bay railway”:
As one of 12 key bottlenecks “on the western line” where trains have to merge tracks with other lines, wait for opposing trains to cross or face delays due to slow boarding and alighting at key stations.
In 2013 a Developer appears. Luna Park Sydney Financial Reports to 30 June 2013 (filed with ASIC on 1 September 2014) reported:
The loans from related entities … repayable on the successful development and sale of development sites adjacent to the park.
This fueled concerns that the rail corridor was being set up for development as it is adjacent to Luna Park.
Concerns about what was to happen to the land led to the formation of the Sydney Harbour HighLine (SHHL) Association – inspired by the New York HighLine, it launched a campaign to repurpose the rail corridor to a recreational walking track.
THE LINE AS THE HIGH LINE
A walking track that links a grand mosaic of gardens, parks and Sydney icons ending in playing fields on the harbour’s edge. Sites linked include Ball’s Head Reserve and the Coal Loader, Waverton Park, Sawmiller’s Reserve, Wendy’s “Secret” Garden, Lavender Bay Parklands and Harry’s and Northcliff parks and the great the icons of Sydney that are Luna Park, the Olympic Pool, the Harbour Bridge, against the backdrop that is the Opera House and Sydney Harbour itself.
The SHHL Association set about introducing the concept to Government – then in June 2017 the Minister for Transport advised:
Sydney Trains had agreed that work to create a walking path along the Lavender Bay Spur can commence on the side where tracks have been removed before the active rail line is closed on the other side of the spur.
In August 2017 the Government established the Sydney High Line Committee to report on the feasibility of the HighLine – The Committee was chaired by Felicity Wilson MP and had representatives from:
- Sydney Trains,
- Sydney Harbour Highline Association
- Office of Environment and Heritage,
- Destination NSW,
- Sydney Heritage Trains,
- North Sydney Council,
- Waverton and Lavender Bay Precincts and the
- Federal Government.
The Committee confirmed to the Government that:
- The pathway construction will be constructed and operated in parallel with Sydney Train’s diminishing use of the current rail corridor and will meet the safety requirements of Sydney Trains and current planning codes.
- The pathway may be operated in conjunction with the ongoing operation of Sydney Trains.
- Stage 1 of the pathway will be built from Union St to Wendy’s Secret Garden.
- Stage 2 from Wendy’s Secret Garden to Luna Park will be built once Sydney Trains cease to use the corridor.
- A strategic link will be created between Lavender Bay and Waverton accessing the parklands and tourist features of this important precinct that is rich in aboriginal and maritime history.
The Report included design and cost estimates completed by Sydney Trains.
In 2022, the SHHL Association resumed working with Sydney Trains to update the costing.
In 2023, the Government advised that the trains stabled at Lavender Bay could be stabled elsewhere on the network and announced …
The Lavender Bay high line project would start with a 300 square metre expansion of Wendy’s Secret Garden, followed by a strategic business case to canvas options for converting the 3.3-kilometre-long disused rail corridor along the Milsons Point foreshore.
In July 2023 the new Minister for Transport, Jo Haylen, announced:
proceeding with the Lavender Bay High Line project would have a serious impact on the operations of the T1 North Shore Western Line.
Turning the tracks into a pedestrian path could have further “implications for service reliability for passengers across the rail network including western Sydney residents.
I’m non-plussed given:
- The Government’s earlier advice that the rail line is one of the 12 bottlenecks on the western line,
- That from the outset, Sydney Trains and the SHHL Association agreed on the joint use of the corridor. There has never been a suggestion that “the (rail) tracks are to be turned into a pedestrian path” – the path is to run parallel to the tracks.
What has happened? Is the site being contemplated for development?
We have asked the Minister for a meeting. We are still waiting.
Visit the HighLine’s website at https://www.sydneyharbourhighline.org.au/
President of the Sydney Harbour HighLine Association