This week I spoke at UrbanGrowth NSW's Bays Precinct Summit, a gathering of selected planning and design experts from around the world to discuss the future of this unique location. I'd like to be able to say that I welcomed with unreserved optimism the announcement of the plan to revitalise the Bays Precinct, but government-sponsored urban renewal on public land does not have a good record in Sydney.
In Europe and Asia, the infrastructure goes in first and development follows. I wish I could at least say we do it the other way around here, but the reality is that infrastructure, particularly transport, is often not provided at all. Many Sydneysiders are rightly skeptical about redevelopments on our harbour foreshore. The experience at Barangaroo showed that any pretence of effective public consultation may be abandoned if an attractive "unsolicited proposal" is put to the Government. It is essential that such mistakes aren't repeated this time around.
I, like many people, was shocked by the NSW Treasurer's statement that the Bays Precinct would accommodate 16,000 homes. However the Minister for Planning assured me that there was no basis for that announcement. At the forefront of planning for the Bays Precinct must be the understanding that this is publicly-owned land and its development must bring clear public benefits. Decisions need to be open and transparent, with proper planning processes and design excellence as key elements. I hope that things will be different this time. I am supporting this planning process in the hope that there is a good outcome for Sydney.
You can read the full text of my speech by clicking here: http://clovermoore.com.au/bays-precinct-summit-living-cities/