Harbour North Public Domain Workshop

(Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay, Hickson Road Millers Point)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our workshop. I would 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.

This area is one of Sydney's most significant residential, heritage and tourist areas. Millers Point, Dawes Point, Walsh Bay and The Rocks have a unique character that we all value—yet it is facing potentially significant change with the Barangaroo development along the western edge.

The City of Sydney started work on a study for your area because we want to plan for that change and work with you to make sure we use this opportunity to keep this a strong local community—and strengthen it!

This workshop is to get your ideas and suggestions on the draft study which Council received last week.

We want to talk with you to ensure we understand what you want and to work with you to protect and improve the area. We'll hold further discussions in August and September, and the results from all these will feed into a final plan which will be prepared for adoption by Council.

The area is a unique precinct within the City. It's defined by the harbour foreshore and its existing residential areas have a human scale. It embraces the localities of Millers Point, Dawes Point, Walsh Bay, The Rocks and Barangaroo.

The challenge is to improve connections to new public places, as well as to existing cultural attractions, while protecting and celebrating this area's special residential and heritage character.

Our draft study builds on ideas from your community which were highlighted in the City's Local Action Plan, developed in 2007 and 2008.

The study also suggests how this area can contribute to our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy, to our Cycle Strategy and our Liveable Green Network master plan.

Some of the suggestions in the draft include public art and heritage interpretation, better pedestrian links, better access to the magnificent Observatory Hill park.

We also want to preserve and improve the distinctive street character of this area; improve seating, lighting and street plantings and widen footpaths to increase pedestrian amenity and activate the streets with outdoor dining, markets and events.

Your area is an important link in the City's cultural ribbon and our study looks at how we might highlight that - perhaps through special signage and public art that would enliven the journey for pedestrians and cyclists.

The long-awaited introduction of light-rail along George Street and through Walsh Bay to Barangaroo will provide a fantastic opportunity for the area, for the first time giving easy transport access to the cultural precinct.

We already have two "early-start" projects underway - one to review the masterplan for Observatory Hill to see what improvements need to be made there, and the other to investigate possible improvements to key streets in the area.

Tonight's meeting will help us shape these projects and highlight the issues that are important for you in these and any future projects.

Based on your input, we aim to complete this work for a report back to Council later this year. The key projects will be carried out over the next five years.

The next workshop is scheduled for September this year and will focus on the early-start projects as well as places identified in tonight's workshop as priorities.

There's a lot to get through tonight, so I would now like to hand over to this evening's facilitator, Lucy Cole-Edelstein.