City News

Infrastructure inadequate for planned population surge, locals say

BY JENNIFER LUU

Local residents have expressed outrage over proposed redevelopment in North Eveleigh.

The community met at an UrbanGrowth NSW workshop on November 12 to voice concerns over the plans to transform the North Eveleigh railway corridor in the State Government’s Central to Eveleigh program.

When put to an informal vote, the majority of attendees voted against the development, with only two residents voting in its favour.

The community was particularly opposed to the planned construction of two 20 storey residential towers, labelling them as the “elephant in the room”.

Newtown resident Tim Hill condemned the towers as “utterly soul-destroying”.

“One can only suggest that you think we look like muppets,” Mr Hill said.

His words were met by a round of applause.

Residents raised fears that the towers would obstruct the skyline, overshadow nearby residences and invade privacy by overlooking neighbouring backyards.

Locals also claimed that the residential development, consisting of over 700 new apartments, would lead to unsustainable population growth in the area.

They said it would place strain on already overburdened infrastructure, public transport, schools, medical services and parking spaces, and would increase traffic congestion.

Many also argued against redevelopment in North Eveleigh due to its status as a sensitive heritage area.

Greens Newtown MP Jenny Leong criticised plans to build the 20 storey towers, and urged the community to stand up against the development.

“What we are actually seeing is yet another example of UrbanGrowth and this New South Wales State Government seeing our community spaces and our neighbourhoods as actually a cash cow for developers,” Ms Leong said.

“What we should be seeing is real policy to address affordable housing in our cities and real policies to address public transport needs.”

City of Sydney Labor Councillor Linda Scott also disagreed with the proposal, and suggested that more money needed to be invested into public services instead of turning the area into a “developer’s playground”.

Clr Scott spoke out against Premier Mike Baird for “selling off public inner-city land, valuable inner-city land, but not giving back to the inner-city communities in terms of infrastructure and government investment”.

UrbanGrowth NSW defended its proposal, with project manager Troy Daly claiming that the housing development was vital to accommodate the city’s growing population.

“Honestly, this is how we need to think about this, because it’s such a prime location in Sydney to put dwellings,” Mr Daly said.

He acknowledged the potential problems that could arise from the construction of the towers.

“I’m not up here to say that things are perfect…we absolutely know across government agencies that things aren’t perfect.”

Jim Koopman, director of AJ + C Architects, supported the idea that growth in the number of local residences was necessary.

“We’re designing these spaces for the 22nd century. We’re designing for many people over the next 10 years to come into the greater Sydney area, and so if we want the sustainable, green and connected city, the way to do it is to provide the housing,” Mr Koopman said.