Council’s update for the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy has detailed the targeted issues for the vision of Sydney over the next 20 years, outlined through the NSW Government’s A Plan for Growing Sydney. Whilst it includes the mentioning of some important matters to bring to any Plan of our city, I am cautious of the lack of detail, in particular, pertaining to affordable housing, public transport and heritage.
Whilst I acknowledge that the process is not finalised, there is currently no specific information on targets for affordable housing. For such an instrumental concern to this City’s future, we need more than vague commitment; we need concrete and measurable outcomes and strategies for how this will be accomplished. At the moment, this is simply not clear.
Public transport, similarly, has been highlighted as a necessity for Sydney, however like its ambiguous commitment to affordable housing, there is no detail on how this will be implemented. That public transport “must be a priority” is obvious; what remains equivocal, however, is strategies for how this will be realised. As the City’s report states, the plan gives us a “good general framework”, however what we need are the specifics. I would also like to see a commitment and a strategy to fund better public transport in growing areas such as Green Square. This is an absolute necessity to preserve the liveability of the area, and to support its growth.
I have questions around the balance of providing high rise apartment buildings to meet the growing population against the preservation of heritage. To start with, this is concerning when we cannot even see a guarantee for affordable housing targets, however this becomes dire when we are at risk of dwarfing our beautiful and unique heritage buildings. I am referring to the potential shift in height restrictions for buildings that the Plan puts forth. Such a suggestion will require vast and ongoing amounts of community involvement and the input of heritage specialists. At the moment, that commitment is debatable. We must also ensure that our living spaces are not compromised through the alteration of such things as floor space ratios. Again, clarification is sought on this issue.
Whilst the MOU between Urban Growth and the City of Sydney insists that it will focus on “collaboration” for the upcoming Central to Eveleigh project, I remain unconvinced. Urban Growth are yet to demonstrate their commitment to a real community collaboration, and this MOU represents only the permission for Urban Growth to forge forward with their own agenda.