Letters to the Editor – The Bays Precinct

When merit challenges a dismal landscape

This week, the Premier Mike Baird, along with Planning Minister, Prue Goward announced finally a positive initiative into renewing our local foreshores around Pyrmont and RozelleBay. Covered widely in the media, this important announcement marks the next chapter in trying to make this area more usable for our community.

But what does it all mean? Various viewpoints abounded across the social media. Land grab, exclaimed one, caution expressed another. It was not surprising given some of the planning controversies, particularly under former NSW Governments.

With the greatest respect to which view you hold, most would agree nothing has been done about the area of harbor shoreline between the Sydney Fish markets and the former White Bay Power station building. Diners sitting outside at the Sydney fish markets in Pyrmont, consist of everyday families, with their children gracing the day out.

Looking out westward their view begins with a rusted derelict building coupled with a cement works. Moving around Blackwattle bay toward the crescent, the area is fragmented by roads and a disused Rozelle goods railway yard full of scrap metal and untended scrub. Continuing northward under the approaches to the Anzac Bridge, we are confronted by the former White Bay Power Station site.

It is clear the area needs more than just a bit of help. What is the solution, perhaps bring in the bulldozers, maybe put in a tall shaded fence perhaps and pretend we have a supervised site. Perhaps with a Government plaque perhaps. The area assigned to a specially created Government department from the past, a fictional tongue in cheek, NSW Department of Posterity.

But what if… I wonder? What if someone actually cared enough, followed our state’s Government policy objectives and wanted to do his very best. I wonder.

Pyrmont and Rozelle is quite a few kilometers from Manly, the home of our NSW premier. It’s quite  interesting to mention Manly and hopefully at some point you will have had an opportunity for yourself, to see Manly. It has a village atmosphere with many of the opportunities of paved harbor fronted walks, certainly a mecca for tourists and happy locals alike.

In Government, some wheels turn faster than others. The decision by the NSW Government to seek such high end help in considering the future of the Pyrmont – Rozelle Bays Precinct, shows the years of difficulty that the area has experienced, has come full circle. Gone is the Rozelle goods train carriages that once shunted their valuable cargo underneathDarling Harbor. These days our newest asset, the light rail lights the way, looking for further consideration and passengers, from our great area.

The announcement of the initiative this week by Premier Mike Baird, signals not bulldozers, expensive reports at the taxpayers expense but a reaching out to academics and captains of ideas, at a summit this November in Sydney.

Whilst Barrangaroo has been criticized, it should be remembered Darling Harbor has had its share of criticism too. Many in Glebe will also remember the important direct bus service to the city they lost, when the Pyrmont Bridge was closed. As a result of Darling Harbor.

No Premier or leader will ever have all the answers and it is a wise man and Government that consults and asks for the best ways to move forward with an opportunity like Pyrmont – Rozelle. There is no reason why the residents of Pyrmont, Glebe, Annandale White Bay and Rozelle, plus the public can’t have a beautiful and terrific area with amenity.

Reading through the fine print this week, the ideas summit will be in November and the public workshops for consultation, including those for local Government will be held in 2015. Hardly a land grab but an exciting opportunity for all sides of interest to express how our area should look and help it rise above the ravages of a seriously discarded industrial landscape.


David Hunt

Rozelle – Leichhardt

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