The Minister for Planning, Pru Goward has announced the dignitaries who will speak at the Bays Precinct International Summit. The announcement comes after two ‘people’s summits’ held by both the City of Sydney and Leichhardt council to hear community concern.
The International summit will take place over Saturday and Sunday (November 22-23) and will be held in the Australian Technology Park.
Ms Goward, send out a media release which contained the list of what she called the ‘celebrity city builders’.
“Anyone who follows high-profile urban transformation around the world knows these accomplished individuals,” Ms Goward said.
“Riek Bakker, John Campbell, Rita Justesen and Alexandre Sorrentino, to name just a few – they are the celebrities of city building and The Bays Precinct deserves no less.”
The list shows only 18 of over 60 experts and those included come from France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark.
Frenchman Alexandre Sorrentino is a key adviser on the development of southern Europe’s largest urban renewal project, Cité de la Méditerranée, and will be attending the summit. He believes that calling on the world’s best designers is a bold move on the part of Urban Growth.
“That’s why I find this summit so innovative. Gathering various experiences and expertise to draw Sydney’s own path in the exciting journey to urban renewal is a very smart approach,” he said.
There is only one Australian on the ‘celebrity list’ – Peter Newman who is a Professor of Sustainability from Curtin University in Western Australia.
The lack of Australian and Sydney representation in Ms Gowards’ release echoes reservations that have been held for the summit since its announcement; that it would not address the local needs.
But the official agenda for the summit shows more such voices. One of which will be the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore.
Cr Moore has pushed for increased community representation since the start of the project, partnering with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney to create community feedback opportunities without Urban Growth NSW.
The City held a public meeting, dubbed ‘the people’s summit’ in Town Hall on Sunday (November 16) that aimed to counter the lack of residents and community groups that have been invited to attend the international summit.
Cr Moore told council that the best opportunity for the land was for the community, not developers.
“Public benefits must include walking, cycling and public transport connectivity; human services such as childcare, health and education; cultural facilities including spaces for artists; affordable housing, especially rent controlled for low income workers; open space, recreation facilities, parkland and foreshore access; and economic development that contributes to the NSW and local economy.
The Mayor of Leichhardt, Cr Rochelle Porteous will not be giving a speech, despite the fact that her precinct covers 80% of the Bays area.
“Neither Leichhardt Council nor the City of Sydney is named as a Project Partner in this major venture, which is extraordinary given the extent to which any development will affect our communities,” Cr Porteous said.
“What happens in the Bays Precinct happens to the whole of Leichhardt. We want to see an evidence-based, fully consulted Bays Precinct Master Plan – with the time allocated to do it once and do it properly. The Master Plan also needs to be developed for the whole of the Bays Precinct not selected parts.”
Cr Porteous has also panned Urban Growth for not extending invitations to all Leichhardt councilors.
“The International Summit is invitation only, and despite the hurried announcement of a widening of the invitations to include a few not-for-profit organisations and community groups, it has not included most of Leichhardt Council or other concerned groups, despite the vast majority of the Bays Precinct falling within the Leichhardt LGA,” she said.
Invited community representatives include members of the former taskforce, community transport groups. The Glebe Society, Better Planning Network, Friends of Sydney Harbour Blackwattle Cove Coalition Pyrmont Action Inc, and the Tribal Warrior Association Inc.
The summit will not discuss the design of the buildings that will make up the new Bays Precinct, but will only consider the development of the Draft Strategic Plan which will set out the principles for the rest of the program.