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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release April 2005

Ashfield cops it

Hi SOS Members

In today's Sydney Morning Herald, SOS member Councillor Monica Wangmann is quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as opposing a proposal to impose further high-density onto Ashfield.

The article:-

Tall storeys elevate crushing issues
By Bonnie Malkin, April 20, 2005


"First it happened to Hurstville, then to Parramatta. Now Ashfield town centre is in line to become Sydney's next high-rise CBD, with a $100 million plan to build two 15-storey residential towers, two six- to nine-storey retail towers and a 360-space underground car park.

"The proposal - involving a partnership between the council and developers - is the latest in a rash of redevelopments across Sydney that is pushing out low-rise, medium-density town centres.

"If the proposal is successful the council would have to increase rates by more than 4 per cent to pay for its $5.6 million part of the deal, which includes refurbishing the town hall, expanding the library and moving to a new administration building."

The article goes on to quote Monica. Monica tells me:

Ashfield is one of the most densely populated municipalities in Australia. North Ashfield has a population density of 14,100 people per square kilometre, probably the most densely populated neighbourhood in Australia. We have the lowest percentage of open space per person, at 1.06 hectares per 1,000 population (the standard is 2.6 hectares per 1,000).

We have ageing infrastructure, much of it built at the turn of the century. How are the thousands of cut rail services a week, over the last couple of years, addressing our infrastructure needs?

Our historic suburbs have hundreds of homes and buildings listed as heritage items and dozens of streets and precincts listed as conservation zones, including the garden suburb of Haberfield. Where is the assessment of the impacts on surrounding heritage items?

Ashfield has already reached its 2017 Urban Consolidation housing targets, yet people are being further squeezed into our municipality, like sardines.

It is very naive of Council to think we can compete with the corporate giant Abacus when it comes to bargaining a good deal. We should only proceed after a comprehensive public consultation period with ALL the facts available. There will be a 4% rise in rates (above the cap) AGAIN WITH NO COMMUNITY CONSULTATION. This is also on top of a proposed environmental levy.

I hope to convince the pro-development Councillors, at the very minimum, to provide reasonable community consultation ie far more then 2 weeks.

The existing "joint venture" comes back to Council in it's current form (and I assume current Mayoral minute) in 2 weeks and the community must go back to address Council yet again.

This could become war of attrition against the residents - forcing them back again and again to Council to put their concerns forward. We have seen this tactic before. As the objector numbers at council meetings reduce (through community exasperation) the argument will be that residents don't care. The residents DO care, but they have been frustrated for decades by an overly pro development Council and minimalist consultation (when it suits the majority of Councillors).

Much of the damage was done during the minimally publicised "up-zoning" periods, in the past. However this proposal must not affect the resident's amenity and should not be supported in it's current form. No-one is saying that they don't want a revitalised Mall and town centre. What the community are saying is that they don't want the two 15 storey towers.

Be prepared. Your suburb could be next on the chopping block. The high-density juggernaught ploughs on.

Thanks to SOS members who wrote to the press in response to our newsletter of 6 April. Katrina Ganin succeeded in getting this one published:

While the Auditor-General states Sydney has no safe ozone, the Government is busy giving the green light to medium-density development, overriding checks on tree removal in Sydney's carbon sink: Ku-ring-gai.

K. Ganin Killara

Short pithy letters like this one have the best chance of being printed.

Tony Recsei

President, Save Our Suburbs


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