Invite: Launch of Bamal Way and Sydney Park Water Re-use Project

This weekend we're opening two new City projects - our Sydney Park Water Re-use project and the Bamal Way pedestrian and cycle connection between Coulson Street in Erskenville and Sydney Park Road.I'd love for you to join me at both events. There will be entertainment, giveaways and food at both from 11am - 1pm and I will be at Bamal Way at 11:45am and Sydney Park at 12:15pm.Bamal WayBamal Way provides a much-needed pedestrian and cycle connection between Coulson Street in Erskenville and Sydney Park Road. Works include: A new concrete pathway linking Coulson St to Sydney Park Rd Ramp and stair access to Sydney Park Rd for pram and disabled access A lawn area, new planting beds and terraced retaining walls Stormwater drainage works New trees for extra shade and shrubs; and New lighting to the path and stairway Bamal is a Sydney language word for 'earth, clay or ground'. Bamal Way is on the site of the former Bakewell Brothers pottery works.Sydney ParkWe have just completed an $11.3 million upgrade of Sydney Park wetlands, including the creation of the City's largest system for harvesting storm-water. It can harvest up to 1,0000 litres a second in a major storm, and will capture and clean around 890 mega-litres each year, providing a sustainable water supply for the park and for its wetland rehabilitation.Any remaining water will be cleaned and return to the Alexandria Canal.Since 2004, we have invested $23.25 million in capital works to transform a derelict former brick-making site into a varied and attractive regional park, offering ample scope for active and passive recreation for all ages, a much-needed green lung for this heavily populated part of Sydney.In this recent upgrade we have also created new pathways and viewing platforms through the wetlands, with a water cascade, bridges and picnic tables.Why these upgrades are importantAround one million people a year use Sydney Park. The immediate catchment area for the park has 750,000 residents and more are coming. By 2030, there will be an estimated population of over 53,000 at Green Square and by 2027, development of the Ashmore Estate will boost the local population by another 6,300.We need greater densities in built up city areas for a number of reasons - including sustainability and affordability. But greater densities only work when they are accompanied by the appropriate facilities - including green public spaces.This is why one of my priorities has been providing parks and green spaces across the LGA, from the big waterfront parks like those at Glebe and Pyrmont, to pocket parks and playgrounds and over 10,000 street plantings.Impact of WestConnexThe proposal to widen Campbell Road and Euston Road, shaving off part of the Sydney Park for WestConnex and funnel at least 33,000 cars a day into St Peters is disastrous.This $15.4 billion roads project will eat up transport funding for decades, and rob us of the chance to build 21st century solutions.The NSW Government has not released a business case to back up the claims that the project will be good for Sydney, and may be massively overestimating how many people will use the toll roads.The City has released the only, independent research into the project, and the results are alarming.The toll road will push even more people onto already congested routes. Traffic on Parramatta Road will increase 25 per cent as people try to avoid expensive tolls.By 2021 over 31,000 vehicles a day will be dumped at the St Peters interchange located next to Sydney Park. This will increase to over 55,000 vehicles by 2041.These vehicles will end up on local roads that aren't designed to cope with that amount of traffic. It will create more congestion and seriously impact on Ashmore and Green Square and there could be a serious impact on our much loved Sydney Park.The City will continue to oppose the plans for WestConnex and I urge you to continue to make your voices heard, too. Read more about how to do that here:

Getting Ready for Christmas

I was delighted to announce Guy and Jules Sebastian as our 2015 Christmas ambassadors this week. The City will work closely with Guy and Jules as well as our corporate partners, retailers and the media to make Sydney a must-visit destination this Christmas.Guy, who has just represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest, and his stylist partner, Jules, will help focus attention on the City's growing Christmas program including city and village concerts, street decorations, large-scale projections, performances and retail promotions.For the first time last year, we successfully co-ordinated activities with businesses and other partners to position the City as a must-see destination during Christmas and encouraged many people to visit and share their experiences on social media.Our Christmas events will be more important than ever this year, as the State Government commences light rail construction. Starting a new infrastructure project is always hard, especially in built up areas in the inner city, and we will work together to make sure our city continues to be a great destination for tourists and visitors during this period of disruption.The full Christmas program will be announced later in the year.

Human Rights Discussion with our Australians of the Year

Last night I had the pleasure of welcoming our four Australians of the Year to Town Hall for their discussion, 2015 Australians of the Year: Inspiring Change in Human Rights, organised by the Australian Human Rights Commission.For the first time ever, all our Australians of the Year are women. ABC presenter Annabel Crabb led Rosie Batty, Jackie French, Drisana Levitzke-Gray and Juliette Wright in conversation about their stories and the human rights issues that drive them. Read more about the Australians of the Year here. At a time when human rights - and human decency - are under attack in our country as never before, it was a valuable opportunity to hear and be inspired by these women.Australia has always prided itself on its egalitarian spirit, but we have perhaps become dangerously complacent. While we still proclaim ourselves as welcoming and egalitarian, the reality is that we turn away refugees, imprison them, without hope, offshore or in remote parts of the country.And even as the increasing prosperity of our cities makes them lively and attractive for many, there are others who are marginalised, priced out of the city, or excluded because the city does not cater for their needs, or simply not made welcome because of perceived "difference".It is part of the job of strong local government to redress these imbalances and to work towards a truly inclusive environment. Over the last eleven years, the City of Sydney has striven to create a city which is not just welcoming, prosperous and beautiful for some of its people, but welcoming, prosperous and beautiful for all. The City has a range of active programs to promote diversity and harmony, whether through cultural events such as Chinese New Year or through our International Student Leadership and Ambassador program.Some of our most important work is around the Eora Journey, using art and culture to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders' continuing contribution to Sydney and developing our Reconciliation Action Plan.We support older people through specially designed programs at our community centres and libraries, through services ranging from podiatry to Meals on Wheels to a home library service for residents who, for one reason or another, find it difficult to get to their local library.Our Inclusion (Disability) Advisory Panel ensures that people with disability are actively involved in shaping the City - as reflected in our Action Plan which sets out the many practical ways in which we can make the City more inclusive and accessible for people with a disability.We support White Ribbon Day and efforts by NSW Police on domestic violence reporting, as well as supporting the first Court Support program in Australia specifically designed for gay and lesbian couples.We have made access to child-care a priority, fast-tracking the development of six new centres to meet increasing demand. We also recognise the economic loss that the lack of women in business leadership - especially in high-growth start-ups - represents and so we support Springboard Enterprises which is working to maximise opportunities for women entrepreneurs.There is much still to do but we will continue to work towards our vision of a genuinely inclusive and welcoming city, a place where the fundamental human rights of all to a safe environment, with opportunities for education, satisfying work and participation in all aspects of city life are possible.If you missed their inspiring talk, you can watch it here:

Awarding the City's Top Businesses

At the end of last week we announced the finalists in the City's new Business Awards. Our 34 finalists will now compete for the chance to win one of 12 awards. Click to see our finalists. It is great to see so many innovative and successful businesses shortlisted for the awards. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to outstanding business achievement in central Sydney.In the past five years alone, more than 50,000 new jobs have been created across the LGA and 2,000 new businesses have opened, representing almost 40 per cent of all jobs growth in metropolitan Sydney.The awards shortlist reflects the large number of new businesses and entrepreneurs that have sprung up in the City's local government area, but there are also a number of long-established businesses nominated.A large number of the shortlisted businesses come from the creative industry. Creative sector businesses had a 9 per cent share of the City's economy in 2012 and the current growth rate of 3.4 per cent makes the creative industry our fastest growing sector, which is expected to account for $14.9 billion by 2030.Another notable trend among the nominees is the number of healthcare-related businesses: from local GP practices, dentists and opticians, to a specialist service for children with hearing loss. The health and social care industry is the biggest employer in Australia.All our businesses - small, medium and large - are crucial to Sydney's liveability and prosperity and I'm proud to work with the NSW Business Chamber to celebrate their success. Sponsoring these new awards is just one of the many ways the City supports business in our area.The winners will be announced at a NSW Business Chamber ceremony in Sydney Town Hall on 23 July.Read more about the Business Awards and see the full list of finalists here:

Reverse Vending Machines in Wynyard and Redfern

We have installed two new reverse vending machines in Redfern and Wynyard. By placing your old bottles in the machine, you have a chance to win prizes or charity donations.These additions follow a successful trial of machines at Circular Quay and Haymarket that recycled over 75,000 beverage containers in the past twelve months - enough to build a tower 30 times the height of Sydney's Centrepoint Tower.I'm delighted with the success of the reverse vending machines. In NSW only around 42 per cent of bottles and cans are recycled annually so it's important to increase that figure, reducing waste and protecting the environment from plastic pollution.The success of these machines shows that people are actively looking for options to recycle and I'm pleased the State Government has introduced a container deposit scheme to come into effect in 2017. I urge the Federal Government to introduce an Australia-wide scheme as a long-term sustainable solution to beverage container waste.The new reverse vending machines will be located on the Wynyard Park side of Erskine Street and at Redfern Village on the corner of Redfern and Regent Streets. Each machine can hold up to 3,000 containers before it needs to be emptied. There are new prizes on offer too - on top of our regular prizes including entry into a draw for a family pass to Sydney New Year's Eve Dawes Point viewing area, two-for-one food truck vouchers and a ten-cent donation to charity, we're now offering entry into a draw to win an iPad mini and the chance to win bus tickets.

Sydney again rated among the world's best cities

In its latest edition, global affairs magazine Monocle has ranked Sydney as the fifth best city in the world in its annual quality of life survey.We've moved six places since the last survey, ahead of Stockholm, Vancouver and Helsinki. The table compares metrics ranging from the cost of a cup of coffee to the price of a three-bedroom house, recycling rates, unemployment levels and the percentage of people commuting by bike.This is a fantastic endorsement of the quality of life we are creating in Sydney and enhances our status as a global city. By investing in parks, playgrounds and opens spaces, supporting creativity and cultural pursuits and delivering public and private developments with excellent design Sydney ranks as one of the world's great cities. Read more about Sydney2030. This is not only good for Sydney residents, but good for business as we know that a city with a high quality of life attracts investment and a talented workforce.Monocle's recognition of Sydney's appeal follows findings by global consulting firm AT Kearney last year. Sydney featured in the top 20 for the firm's 2014 Global Cities Index and was ranked as the world's most popular city for international students.And earlier this year, The Economist's Intelligence Unit ranked Sydney number six overall in its list of 50 cities in its Safe Cities Index for 2015.Sydney is thriving. It is the engine room of the NSW economy, which is the best performing economy of any state in Australia. And results like the rankings above show that our approach - guided by Sydney 2030, our plan to create a green, global and connected city - is delivering a more liveable city.All this will be placed at risk if the NSW Government goes ahead with its plan to amalgamate the City with neighbouring councils. An amalgamation at this time would seriously and negatively impact on the future of our City. Read more about that risk and what you can do to help stop an amalgamation here.

The Truth the Tele Won't Print: Green Travel Plans

Today's Daily Telegraph misrepresents the nature of a development approval endorsed at Council over a week ago. The DA requirement to prepare a Travel Plan for customers and staff does not set a precedent for other businesses, does not add onerous red tape and has the full support of the owner.The article refers to a new 300-seat restaurant on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, the owners have been asked to prepare a Travel Plan for customers and staff getting to and from the venue.The City asked for a Travel Plan because the restaurant is unusually large, is located on an arterial road with no parking, and has a lack of onsite parking.The City received a number of objections from local residents about the DA and the travel plan is just part of a package of measures to mitigate impacts on local residents.This does not create a precedent for Travel Plans to be used at other restaurants. Travel Plans are only required on a case-by-case basis.Travel Plans are used in large businesses to make sure staff and visitors are aware of the best options for walking, riding, public transport or driving.Travel Plans don't require a specific number of trips by any particular form of transport, and customers or visitors aren't forced to share information with the business if they don't want to.Owners of the restaurant on Cleveland Street, which is close to public transport, have advised the City they are happy to prepare a plan to ensure their patrons and staff are aware of the parking shortage, the public transport options, and the best place for taxis to drop and pick up people safely. Restaurant owner Michael Grant, of Cornerstone Property, said he does not regard it as red tape. We support the introduction and council initiative of the Green Travel Plan. We don't see it as red tape or an extra burden, we see it as a value-add to the end patrons. The Travel Plan would be incorporated into the restaurant website to help communicate the easiest and most convenient travel options for the community, to and from the restaurant. Encouraging people to use different transport options if they can, makes it easier for those who do need to drive.Pictured: The restaurant site at 267-271 Cleveland St, Redfern.

UTS Science Faculty Wins Lord Mayor's Architecture Prize

I was delighted to once again present the Lord Mayor's Prize at the Australian Institute of Architects' annual NSW Architecture Awards at Sydney Town Hall on Friday night.The Lord Mayor's Prize was introduced in 2013 to celebrate design excellence in our city.Our vision is a city with beautifully designed, sustainable buildings and public spaces to encourage innovation, inspiration and pride. In the past decade, we approved development worth $24 billion and we've been internationally recognised and awarded for our focus on design excellence and sustainability - working with private developers and on our own projects.This year the prize went to UTS Science Faculty, Building 7, by Durbach Block Jaggers Architects & BVN Architecture.The building weaves together the built form needed by students and teachers with the open space of the Alumni Green and the surrounding streetscape.The building contains a range of specialist research facilities, clinical teaching spaces and Australia's largest undergraduate science teaching space, a two-hundred seat Super Lab. These purposeful spaces are well connected above and below ground to student commons and meeting spaces. Strategic skylights, reflected light and colour charge these spaces.The building has a 5 Star Green rating and includes innovative air-conditioning, a green roof providing insulation, and a high amount of recycled materials.As this building and those surrounding it evolve and grow, there will be continued opportunities to improve the public domain and create a noteworthy urban public open space for students, visitors and Sydneysiders alike.The City of Sydney's Director of Planning, Graham Jahn AM, prepares the shortlist of entries that helping to create the kind of city we all want to live in, to work in and to visit.This year, the shortlist included: The Irving Street Brewery by Tzannes Associates East Village by Nicholas Turner St Barnabas Church by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and Llankelly Place Lights by McGregor Westlake Architecture in Association with Conybeare Morrison The most encouraging sign of the health of architecture in Sydney is that there is an increasing number of projects vying for a place on the shortlist. All these projects have contributed to Sydney's growing international reputation as a city of design excellence.

NAIDOC in the City

NAIDOC Week is an important annual event in Sydney. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are intrinsic to our shared story of Sydney, their culture and history permeate our modern city and give it a depth and resonance beyond the everyday.NAIDOC Week, which runs until 12 July, celebrates the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, which grew from the first political groups seeking rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians in the 1920s.Those connections continue in the 21st century, and are recognised by the City of Sydney in our Eora Journey project. Sustainable Sydney 2030 - which evolved out of extensive consultations right across the Sydney community - explicitly calls for greater recognition of the special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.Our Eora Journey will tell these stories in a captivating and meaningful way, creating a series of new permanent artworks that celebrate the world's oldest living culture and its significance to Sydney.The Eora Journey, which translates as "the people's journey", includes public art, support for major events, an economic development plan and a knowledge and cultural centre. The City's Barani website also continues to promote the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture of Sydney.This year's theme for NAIDOC Week, "We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate", focuses on the strong spiritual and cultural connections Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to the land and sea.We began celebrations on Monday with a range of family-friendly activities and performances in Hyde Park, including live music, dance, food, art and Australian animals.One of the highlights was the earth oven cooking demonstrations by one of Australia's most acclaimed Aboriginal chefs, Clayton Donovan. I think it's fantastic that Clayton was able to share his bush tucker secrets and create a genuine traditional feast right in the middle of this 21st century global city.There are events today and throughout the weekend. I hope you can take part and learn more about our significant Indigenous culture and heritage.Click here to see the diverse program for NAIDOC Week and take the chance to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.

Our Submission to IPART

Yesterday we submitted our "Fit for the Future" proposal to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). IPART will now assess whether the City has the capacity to deliver services to the community in a sustainable and efficient way. We have demonstrated in this submission that we are indeed "Fit for the Future" and should not be amalgamated with our neighbouring councils. Click to read the submission. You can read the submission here. An amalgamation at this time would seriously and negatively impact on the City's capacity to deliver during a period of significant development and urban renewal that relies on our expertise and financial investment. Here are four reasons why the City is "Fit for the Future":1. We have scale and capacityThe City of Sydney is a leading council that delivers high quality services and infrastructure while keeping rates and charges low. It has exceptional demonstrated capacity and a proven ability to plan, fund and deliver world-class services and infrastructure that meet the economic, social, cultural and environmental needs of our city and its communities.2. We are sustainableThe City of Sydney's demonstrated effective governance, strong finances and skilled personnel are critical for securing Sydney's continued transformation as a modern global city and to capitalise on unprecedented development investment potential over the next decade.3. We are in a period of unprecedented investmentThe local government area is expected to experience unprecedented development investment over the next decade, subject to the City of Sydney's continued efficient delivery of infrastructure and professional expert services, especially in planning and approvals.4. Amalgamations are disruptive without demonstrated benefitThe financial benefit of an amalgamation is marginal compared to the risks of a loss of business and development confidence due to an uncertain investment climate and disruption to city operations and critical infrastructure projects.This submission recommends: The City of Sydney has scale and capacity to be Fit for the Future. No major structural should change be undertaken to the City's boundaries at this time. Priority action is needed to deliver important reforms to the NSW local government legislative and regulatory framework for governance, financing and collaboration/coordination. To enable integrated strategic planning, local government areas excised and transferred to state agencies (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Barangaroo Delivery Authority and UrbanGrowth NSW) should be reintegrated into the City local government area. TELL IPART YOU SUPPORT THE CITY The NSW Government wants to create a mega-council. IPART has also asked the public to comment on their council's submission. If you don't want the City of Sydney to be swallowed up by a mega council, make sure you make a submission to IPART by 31 July using one of the three options below. Your submission can be as long or short and as formal or informal as you like. Use IPART's web form Email IPART at Make your submission in writing. Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal Local Government Division Review of Local Council Fit for the Future Proposals PO Box K35 Haymarket Post Shop NSW 1240 If you choose to email or write to IPART, let them know if you wish for your name or entire submission to remain anonymous. IPART will publish submissions with names unless otherwise directed.

Storm-proofing Green Square

Today I announced that work has commenced on a 2.4km underground stormwater drain to reduce flooding in Green Square during torrential rain events.The torrential storms in April were a graphic reminder of how vital this trunk drain is to make this area a great place for thousands of people to live and work safely. The drain will allow us to safely develop the Green Square town centre - our major new residential, retail and cultural hub.HistoryWhile this urban renewal area was announced as far back as 1996, when I was first elected as Lord Mayor in 2004 the project was virtually moribund. The City took the lead and reviewed planning and financing. Before and after shots of flooding in Green Square. The complexities and challenges were extraordinary - the land in the Town Centre was in 18 different lots of ownership, split between state and local government and private land owners, and the land was heavily contaminated from former industrial uses. There was no funding allocated for essential infrastructure.Flooding in particular was a fundamental problem preventing the area's renewal. In numerous meetings over years I told successive Ministers that this drainage project was a critical linchpin to providing thousands of new homes and jobs in the area. Agreement was finally reached in 2014 and development is underway.Although storm water is a Sydney Water responsibility, the City is funding more than half of the the trunk drainage - putting in 53 per cent of the total cost - to ensure the project goes ahead. Map of the area. The routeThe tunnel route, from Link Road to Alexandra Canal, was chosen to minimise impact on residents, businesses and the environment. Most of this route runs through, or under, property owned by the City of Sydney and on Sydney Water land between Maddox Street and Alexandra Canal.Construction of the drain will begin in mid-2015 and is expected to be finished by the end of 2017.MicrotunnelingWe're using a microtunnelling machine to install pipes underground without disturbing the surface. The machine digs an underground tunnel into which concrete pipes 2.15 metres in diameter are installed. Pits are constructed at either end of each section to launch and retrieve the machine.Tunnelling machines are traditionally given a name and the Green Square machine has been named "Mary Veronica" in recognition of Mary Veronica Neilson. Mrs Neilson was the area's first female alderman (1945 - 1948) and first female Mayor (1946 and 1947) when she served on Waterloo Municipal Council.Developing Green SquareThis area was once Sydney's industrial heartland, but now a lot of the industry has left and new jobs and residents are moving in and making this our fastest growing village. That's why it's important we flood-proof the area.At a cost of more than $90 million, this project is a key component of the City's $440 million transformation plan for new infrastructure and community facilities to ensure Green Square neighbourhood is a great place to live, work and enjoy.While this drain will solve one of our problems, we need the NSW Government to urgently increase its investment in high-growth areas like Green Square, so essential infrastructure such as public transport, schools and child care keep up with growth. 

Building a More Resilient City

Today, in a Sydney first, experts and representatives from almost all of Sydney's 41 councils have come together to develop a long-term plan to help build a resilience plan for our city. The plan will look for ways to better cope with extreme events like April's torrential storms, as well as long term stresses such as housing affordability and other threats, such as terrorism.We have never had General Managers and other senior representatives from all Sydney councils come together before which makes today's workshop event especially significant. We showed in the storms earlier this year how we could help each other, sharing trucks and resources and we would like to continue that cooperation to prepare for future significant events.Today's workshop will set objectives for Sydney's participation as one of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities. The 100 Resilient Cities Challenge was launched in 2013 as a $100 million commitment to build urban resilience by the Rockefeller Foundation.Through the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, Sydney has received support to recruit a Chief Resilience Officer to lead development of a Sydney Resilience Strategy.As part of our application to join the initiative, we identified a number of challenges that Sydney faced in becoming a more resilient city - heatwaves, infrastructure failure, flooding and terrorism. We also identified a number of stresses - aging infrastructure, inefficient public transport, unaffordable housing and homelessness.But these are not set in stone and at today's workshop we will discuss the critical issues for Sydney and how we can tackle them together. Today's workshop will guide the Resilience Officer's work.Councils across Greater Sydney have communities, knowledge and issues that are unique to their local areas. By sharing information about key threats we may face and tools we have for addressing those threats we can take a practical and cooperative approach. This is also an opportunity for an open and constructive discussion about the stresses that cities will face.We are stronger together for local action on critical issues such as housing affordability, terrorism and extreme weather events. Today we will be sharing information, expertise and insights in an important conversation to shape Sydney's resilience for our children and grandchildren.Read more about our participation in the 100 Resilient Cities program here: (L-R) Chris Derksema (City of Sydney Director of Sustainability), Elizabeth Yee (Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Solutions, 100 Resilient Cities), Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Nicola Thomson (Regional Manager, 100 Resilient Cities).

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