Green Square Community Update

Hello, everyone, welcome to our community forum. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

Good to see you here tonight for this update on what's happening in your area.

I'll start with planning matters, as many of you are aware, the planning proposal for the three Landcom/Mirvac/Leighton sites on Bourke Street and Botany Road seeks to increase densities, vary building heights, alter the land use mix and alter the public domain layout by introducing additional streets.

The proposal was exhibited for a month from November 20, and almost 60 submissions have been made to date. The City is now considering those submissions and reviewing the proposed amendments, though we are still waiting on important feedback from the aviation agencies.

Meanwhile, a Planning Agreement for community benefits - which would include dedication of land, the delivery of infrastructure and important sustainability initiatives - is under discussion with the developers.

A second major site - the John Newell site in Botany Road - was also subject to a proposal to change the land-use mix. This was publicly exhibited for three weeks last December.

A report will come to Council and the CSPC, most likely in June. Here, too, a draft Planning Agreement for community benefits including financial contributions towards infrastructure, sustainability initiatives and land dedication will be placed on public exhibition.

Finally, a comprehensive review of the planning controls for the Town Centre - excluding the Landcom/Mirvac/Leighton sites - will produce a stand-alone local environment plan which will go on public exhibition in the second half of this year.

The draft LEP and DCP for the whole LGA went on exhibition in February and we extended the period for written submissions until April 2011, following community requests.

We've so far received about 850 submissions and this evening staff will summarise for you the issues that were raised in those submissions.

Every one of the submissions will be reviewed and a report will go to Council and the CSPC later this year.

The City has sold part of the South Sydney Hospital site to City West to provide much-needed affordable housing in the area and we are now looking at possible uses for the rest, but our priority at present is to investigate any remediation and heritage conservation works that might be necessary.

Transport remains a key issue here, especially with the requests for massively increased densities - up to 137 per cent in the Town Centre. In the light of this, the State Government has agreed to update the TMAP and because of the number of renewal sites in the area as a whole, the Government is proposing a strategic study from the CBD to the airport and Port Botany to look at Green Square, BEP2 (Redfern Waterloo), Ashmore and airport and port expansion and the ability of the transport system to cope with these demands and what will be needed to improve the system.

The Botany Road study is complete and awaiting a final report from the State Government, but we expect some improvements to bus priority.

Since the station access fee was removed on March 6 - something the City has been arguing for for a long time - the number of Green Square residents using the train is expected to rise from 10 per cent to about 17 per cent, also easing the passenger loads on buses.

At present, almost 18 per cent of residents travel by bus - almost double the number on trains, but there is no priority given to buses until they reach Chalmers Street, even though they have to negotiate heavy traffic and freight traffic along Botany Road.

In May 2008, a City of Sydney study showed that 20 buses in the morning peak were too full to stop. This must be improved.

On the question of light rail, the State supports it in the City, down Anzac Parade and into Green Square. The City is now lobbying the Federal Government for funds to secure a light rail corridor, which is essential to support growth in Green Square and the surrounding area.

We are asking the State Government to use the planning provisions to protect an eastern transit corridor which would serve the eastern area of Green Square and connect into BEP2 and through Surry Hills to the City. This is the only realistic way to prevent a massive upsurge in traffic once the planned Green Square developments are complete.

We've said from the beginning that we want to make Green Square a sustainability exemplar and we are working with the Department of Premier and Cabinet to get a commitment for tri-generation in Green Square. We're now investigating opportunities within the South Sydney Hospital site.

Decentralised tri-generation, providing low-carbon power, heating and cooling will play a major part in helping us meet our carbon reduction targets. And our Green Infrastructure includes recycled water and automated waste as well.

Andrew Thomas will give you more detailed information on this later. Meanwhile, a pilot program for Green Square Green Champions is running until October.

It aims to engage, educate and raise awareness about green living, and help residents make relevant sustainable changes in this area through our local Green Champions. The first part of this program entailed a series of workshops for residents.

Two have already been held and the next - on May 11 - is on Worm Farming and Composting, with another on Chemical Free Homes to be held on June 15.

In the second phase of the program, residents will be invited to a series of four workshops between July and October on Sustainability Leadership. We hope to find 10 or 15 community champions from these workshops who'll be trained to lead local sustainability projects that they have identified.

This is a fantastic opportunity to develop community leadership and put the power to green your environment back into community hands, so I hope we'll have a big roll-up.

Don't forget that our Green Square Library and Customer Service Centre is now open in Joynton Avenue, offering the range of customer services from payment of rates to requests for graffiti removal to parking permits. You can also view development applications there, lodge construction certificates, or request garbage, recycling or compost bins.

At the library, you can join as a member, take out loans of fiction, non-fiction and junior books. There's a wealth of magazines, newspapers and audio-visual material as well as internet access.

If this branch doesn't have a book you want, staff can arrange for inter-branch or inter-library loans; you have the convenience of after-hours returns and each Wednesday, there's Rhymetime at 10am for the children.

Up-coming events include World Environment Day on June 5 and as I mentioned, the Live Green Workshops on May 11 covering composting and worm farming, and on June 15, a workshop on the Chemical Free home.

Later in the year when Landcom moves out, we will be able to expand the library collection, have a function room on Level 1 and a small community meeting room on Level 2. We will also be installing a lift.