Leichhardt Council has welcomed a plan from Sydney Ports to increase public access to wharves four and five at White Bay.
The plan announced by Ports CEO Grant Gillifan promises local residents access to the precinct on non-shipping days, while continuing to affirm the commitment of the NSW Government to “maintaining White Bay for long term commercial shipping”.
With approximately 180 days on which the precinct is not being used for cruise liners, pedestrians will be able to walk the full length of the Overseas Cruise Terminal. Moreover, an additional public access point will be established at Booth St and the terminal itself.
A spokesperson for Sydney Ports said that with council support, a formal proposal should be completed within “the next couple of months”.
Asked why the public would want access to the commercial shipping precinct, the spokesperson said that local residents “just want to walk around there”.
But safety concerns, and the need to prioritise commercial operations will still necessitate the limitation of public access.
The announcement comes following years of agitation from Council to open the precinct up to the public.
Leichardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said in a statement: “The harbour is a resource for all Sydneysiders to enjoy, and with this improved access there will be more opportunity to get onto our waterfront.”
Council voted unanimously to approve the proposal.
Kath Hacking, Chair of the Friends of White Bay community organisation, said the announcement comes after years of consistent requests for access from a community “short of open space”.
She said that the community were “promised access years ago, but were locked out of the planning process”.
While Ms Hacking continues to have environmental concerns about the wharf’s operations, she welcomed the progress with regard to public access announced by Sydney Ports.
By Sean O’Grady