Why is Resident Action increasingly important

CENTENNIAL PARK NEWS No22: 21st July2014

Why is Resident Action increasingly important?

Firstly, there has been a decline in the quality of the public service at the Federal, State and local government level due to the politicisation of the public service: top positions change hands with changes of government and recruitment of qualified people has markedly declined.

Secondly, many elected representatives are not qualified and they may represent vested interests or lobby groups with agendas that do not reflect the public interest.

Thirdly, there are usually many more highly qualified people outside particular planning groups than in the designated entity.

Fourthly, concerned, informed and brave citizens are willing to give up their time and money to fight proposals that they believe are not in the public interest.

Fifthly, in spite of the communications revolution, there are still significant gaps in the development of the media for public purposes (eg in education). And EQ could be an Education Quarter.

The Bridge too many in Anzac Parade Moore Park. 

The NSW government is spending $25m+ of taxpayers money on a Bridge to “nowhere” that has been strongly attacked by residents and environmentalists, in four excellent articles in the SMH, and by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Why has there been no legal challenge and a more vociferous outcry at the damage to the Parklands? Why has there been no legal challenge by the City Council and /or the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust? The driving force is the SCG that claims that this project should be pushed through to accommodate crowds expected for 2015 Cricket World Cup? As the SCG already copes with AFL crowds it is difficult to justify the expenditure and the damage to the Parklands and the memorial boulevard, Anzac Parade. Is it a further blatant attempt by the SCG to get control of Moore Park and to encourage private cars to Moore Park for parking? Is this a commendable public transport strategy?

 Why has a private consortium taken over the EQ site? CFS Retail has sold the remaining years (30+) of a lease on the EQ site, at enormous profit to CFS Retail, to a consortium headed by Gerry Harvey, John Singleton and Mark Carnegie who have engaged in extraordinary claims about redevelopment of the site contrary to its historic dedication and community interest in the proper uses of this site. Note that the Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust is the landlord and the City Council is the development authority. The role of the Planning Department again needs critical examination.

 Does Light Rail need a proper Town Planning Inquiry? There is widespread community concern about the City and Eastern Suburbs light rail proposals that the Transport Department’s various community forums have failed to answer satisfactorily. The latest community meeting on Saturday last at High Cross Park (cnr Avoca Street and Coogee Bay Road, Randwick) drew attention to many of these failings including the higher priority of completing the Eastern Suburbs Rail line to Randwick and the airport, the destruction and damage to parks and trees in the Cities of Sydney and Randwick, the increased cost and travel time involved in the new arrangements as well as reduced bus services directly to the City. The redevelopment proposals and assumptions underlying the projections need an independent Town Planning Inquiry similar to the Bunning Inquiry that scuttled the Minister and City Council/ Olympic Committee proposals for a Moore Park/Centennial Park Olympic Complex that would have destroyed the historic character of the Parklands and much housing, as the present proposals do on a reduced scale. Does the City Council and the Transport Department not recognise the needs of Sydney as a multicentre metropolis? There is a misallocation of resources and priorities.

Is there a need for a series of Rallies about Light Rail? This is happening spontaneously as more people recognise the need for Better Planning in NSW. In Surry Hills, where residential amenity and much valuable housing and parkland is being destroyed, there is a very active group (PUSH). At last Saturday’s meeting at High Cross Park, that will itself be severely damaged at least five resident groups opposed to the existing light rail proposals emerged.

A follow up meeting is being held on Sunday next (27/7/14) at 10am commencing at the corner of Anzac Parade and Alison Roadwith a walk along the light rail route to High Cross Park at 11am inter alia identifying by a Save the Trees group the 270 trees that may be destroyed. Is what Patrick White called the “green lung of Sydney” to be destroyed by so called “planners”?

Please come at least to the start, for a similar destruction of trees in MoorePark and along Anzac Parade to Kingsford is being planned. As Edmund Burke commented“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

What is the Impact on the Centennial Park Precinct? The Transport Department excluded resident groups as “stakeholders” and customers in the initial planning of the light rail proposal! Why? Our precinct is identified historically as a Garden Suburb that has in the past accepted some responsibility for preserving the Parklands through the Save the Parks Campaign in collaboration with the Paddington Society, Planning for People in Surry Hills, the Queen Street and West Woollahra Association, The Bronte and Tamarama Advancement Society, and other groups in Waverley and Coogee. Another slice of Moore Park will be taken away and the southern end of the precinct will be adversely affected. The Anzac Parade/Alison Roadintersection will be adversely affected as the Kingsford tram branch line crosses into Tay Reserve before crossing Anzac Parade again to the median strip. Our bus service to the City will be adversely affected and no doubt significantly reduced.

 Where are We Going? A recent meeting in Martin Road of resident representatives from some of the Eastern Suburbs resident groups opposed to the current Light Rail proposals noted the following:


  • There is an urgent need for a proper independent town planning inquiry that will look at thereal needs of all stakeholders and not just the SCG, AJC, Prince of Wales Hospital and UNSW.


  • Planning forSydney as a multicentre metropolis and the early completion of the Eastern Suburbs railway should be given higher priority.



  • Intersection capacitywill be adversely affected at many critical points.


(iv)      Congestion will be increased by the current plans in the City and beyond as endorsed by an advocate of the Action for Public Transport.


  • Existing street parking will be restrictedalong the route, adversely affecting small business and the strip shopping centres.


  • There is an urgent need for thevarious groups to co-operate.



  • The reasons whytrams were taken off Sydneystreets were not understood.


  • What is being proposed is notgood public transport planning and will destroy the existing highly efficient bus network by routing services to tram stops and close off and/or reduce important corridors.



(ix)      Effective resident action is needed now.

Newsletter:  Neil Runcie, 2 Martin Road, Centennial Park, NSW, 2021