Bays Precinct collaborative engagement

Recent planning and development processes for foreshore land have created significant community distrust about how the State Government will plan and redevelop the Bays Precinct.

The Precinct incorporates 80 hectares of land within the City of Sydney and Leichhardt Council areas, most of which is owned by the State Government.

The community wants to ensure that the public interest is paramount, proper process is followed, decisions are open and transparent, and planning and design excellence are central

A recent community meeting, attended by around 200 local people, called for the community to be effectively engaged in discussions about the future of the Bays Precinct.

A central resolution of the meeting is a People's Summit on the Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Project in advance of the international experts' summit announced by Urban Growth for 19 and 20 November.

During October and November, the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney is also proposing a series of events using the Bays Precinct as a case study for discussing how to best plan for such significant areas.

Together the People's Summit and case study will create a program of diverse engagement events, online forums, community workshops and expert panel discussions. This will provide a significant opportunity for the community to define and articulate the public's interest for the future of Bays Precinct.

Public benefits must include walking/cycling connectivity and public transport; human services such as childcare, health and education; cultural facilities including spaces for artists; affordable housing, especially rent controlled for low income workers; open space, recreation facilities, parkland and foreshore access; and economic development that contributes to the NSW and local economy.

An important component of the process is a web platform hosted by the University that would provide a central reference point and allow comments and content to be regularly uploaded and shared by the wider community.

This approach should provide an effective strategy for the City of Sydney, Leichhardt Council and the State Government to collaborate with the community and support objectives endorsed by the recent community meeting.

It aims to provide an independent process that engages the community fully in the process and ensures that the public interest is at the heart of the NSW Government's decision making, not private commercial interests.

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