- Posted by IanMuttonAdmin
- On October 9, 2023
Government needs to be transparent + people in Government should be accountable.
Perrottet out Minns in – what could it mean for North Sydney?
The Minns’ Government seems set to:
- have a shot at addressing the housing shortage with heavy reliance of the private
sector (expect an avalanche of applications for development approvals),
- ignore the simple fact that people need local amenities like parks and schools.
Addressing a housing shortage without addressing the stress put on amenities by increasing the number of residents is a recipe for long term fails.
What does the Minns’ Government have in store for North Sydney? Actions to date give a huge cause to worry. Let’s look at some –
North Sydney Oval
The $11m the previous government promised to help fund the upgrade (for women’s sport in partnership with North Sydney Council and Cricket NSW) has been thrown out, not because it wasn’t a good investment but because it was the idea of the previous government. It would have made the Oval a great facility.
Development – first Crows Nest/St Leonards, next Neutral Bay
North Sydney has one of the highest ratios of residents to parkland relative to other local government areas. In other words, it’s crowded (with 576 residents per hectare of parkland compared to Mosman’s 270). A ratio that is set to worsen with the seizure of 2.6 hectares of the Cammeray Golf Course.
Premier Minns has targeted the Crows to St Leonards “transport hub” for increased housing. What he has not done is put a brass razoo towards the cost of providing additional parkland. Quite the opposite, he has given up on one big opportunity to add more than 4 hectares of parklands – the Sydney Harbour HighLine.
Sydney Harbour HighLine
A vision that saw the repurposing of the railway from Waverton to the Milsons Point ferry wharf – a key component in the pre–Sydney Harbour Bridge commute to and from the Sydney’s CBD. It would have seen the creation of more than 3 kilometres of walking trails and 4 hectares of harbour fronting parklands. The HighLine had bipartisan support before the state election. What happened next?
One of the first acts of the Minns’ Government was to jettison the HighLine and then turn down all requests for meetings for reasons that even Sydney Trains disputed. The fear is that the land will become the site of development like Premier Minns has promised for Crows Nest to St Leonards.
Bradfield Park – cycleway
Everyone wants a ramp for cyclists to connect the Harbour Bride cycleway to North Sydney roads. The Minns’ Government has come out in support of the design to put it slap through the centre of Bradfield Park and rejected the community design that placed it to the side of the Park. What’s stunning about the Minns’ Governments decision is that it goes against a community which had the support of more than 8,000 people – people, I guess, that don’t matter.
Remember the calls for “open government”?
North Sydney matters so little to Premier Minns and his Minister (for Transport) Haylen that both have said they are too busy to meet with the community. They have accepted faulty departmental advice.
The Beaches Link – putting traffic underground.
The Minns’ Government has jettisoned the road tunnel connecting the Warringah Freeway to the Northern Beaches and with that a new crossing of Middle Harbour. North Sydney has lost the opportunity to restrict the traffic crossing the Spit and passing along:
- Spit and Military Roads
- Spit and Ourimbah Roads
as it battles to get to and from the Warringah Freeway and beyond.
The streets of Cremorne and Neutral Bay will become gridlocked, and the town centres destroyed.
Next, my bet sees the Minns’ Government noting the number of bus movements along Military Road and then characterising Neutral Bay village as a “transport hub”. The significance of that? The Minns’ Government will then unleash Crows Nest/St Leonards style development on Neutral Bay village.
Bradfield Park South (the green coloured portion fronting the harbour above the bridge easement shown in white)
Back in 1988 a large portion of Bradfield Park, the southern end, was taken from North Sydney to facilitate the building of the first road tunnel. At the time there was the promise that it would be returned. Here we are, 25 years on and the advice is that the land is to be transferred to the Department of Transport. Whatever that Department has planned for it you can count on it not being a park – perhaps a bus terminus or a parking lot.
It was a Labor Government back in 2009 that called for bids for a large section of the Bay leased to be used as a marina in the Bay – perhaps one of the most pristine harbour bays.
With the jettisoning of a recent proposal to moor the Heritage Fleet in the Bay, the Minns’ Government leaves open the question, what next?
Already we have seen:
- a temporary lease given to Noakes to allow it to expand its over water lease (to accommodate the floating dry dock) and its business in a way that dwarfs its past activities. A decision taken with absolutely no consultation with the local community.
- The utility of the Bay reduced with the mooring of old hulks (a Manly Ferry and a barge, former Rushcutters Bay restaurant) that without maintenance will follow the MV Baragoola to the bottom).
The Minns’ government has been strangely silent when it comes to explaining its vision for Bay.
Is there cause for concern? The recent musings of a new Planning secretary, when wondering about the small risk of removing outdated integrity measures, risking some malfeasance corrupting a bit of the planning system, outweighing the benefit of getting more market certainty?
The notion that malfeasance corrupting the planning system is a price worth paying for market certainty gives cause to pause.
The public deserves better – the Premier has said he would govern for all. Let him prove it by meeting with us.
President of the Sydney Harbour HighLine Association