Glebe Town Hall Opening

(11.30am, Saturday 2 March 2013, Glebe Town Hall, 160 St Johns Rd)

Thank you, Stephen [Gilby, MC]. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to Glebe Town Hall!

I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.

I thank Michael West for his Welcome to Country and Uncle Max who will be smoking the building - especially important as it served for a time as the local police station and lock-up.

A special welcome today to:

  • Peter Tonkin and Julie Mackenzie of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, our head consultants for this project
  • Our heritage expert, Jean Rice of Jean Rice Architects
  • Ethan Sinclair from CBS
  • City Councillors Robyn Kemmis, John Mant and Linda Scott
  • Aunties Millie Ingram and Kathryn Farrawell of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel
  • Lee Kalmo, Director of Rapid Constructions, who worked with the City on this and
  • From the City of Sydney, our project manager, Kevin Chahoud, and design manager, Chris McBride.

A job like this demands team work and a wide range of expertise, and I think everyone will agree that the results are really impressive.

It's this building's first major upgrade since it was opened in 1880. It was the most important work of the architect Ambrose Thornley junior.

The work was necessary to make sure the building will continue to serve the Glebe community, to make it more accessible and welcoming for everyone, and to make it more sustainable.

At the same time, its original features have been carefully and lovingly restored, and that stunning glass façade marks the new accessible entry on Lodge Street.

We've spent $6.8 million , some of it on necessary repairs such as fixing salt and water damage on the façade, restoring the clock to working order, replacing the slate roof, improving accessibility, insulation and sound proofing.

There's a new ramp on Mt Vernon Street for pram and wheel-chair access from the bus stop; new access to the Lodge building from the Town Hall ground floor and a new lift to all floors.

As with all our work, sustainability has been a key issue, so as much as possible has been recycled. There are new fittings to reduce energy and water use and a monitoring system to check their effectiveness; we're collecting rainwater from the roof for re-use in toilets and garden irrigation, and natural ventilation and light have been maximised to reduce reliance on air-conditioning and electricity.

The Town Hall now has spaces for hire, meeting rooms and artist's studios. It will also house the Glebe Early Childhood Health Centre and Sydney University's Glebe Community Development Project - an organisation that works locally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents and social housing residents.

I want to thank and congratulate all those who've work on this refurbishment - it's a fantastic result and a great tribute to your skills and expertise.

There are a number of other projects being carried out in Glebe that I'd like to quickly mention.

Glebe Foreshore extension:

We're continuing our work on the foreshore for the public and will complete a "missing link" between Ferry Road and Pyrmont Bridge Road, providing a public waterfront pathway from Annandale to the Fish Market.

Following consultations with you and with the land owners, Council endorsed concept designs last November and we plan to start work mid-year.

Small parks, playgrounds and ovals:

Several local parks are getting makeovers. A new playground is under construction at Jubilee Park and will open this year with a creative play space for children of all ages.

We've had extensive consultation with residents on proposed improvements to the St James Park and John Street Reserve. Your comments have been taken into a revised concept plan which Council endorsed in December. Construction will begin at the end of this year.

Glebe Point Road

Glebe Point Road is now looking much greener and more beautiful, as well as being safer, with better pedestrian, bike and public transport access. Recent works included footpath replacement, replacing large areas of hard surface with grass and plants, improvements to 12 intersections, installation of three rain gardens and 10 additional bike parking spots.

This is a terrific community, with a great community spirit. We're pleased to be able to improve these local assets, and to return Glebe Town Hall to you as a focal point of your community.

Thank you for coming here today. Have a great day, everyone.