By ALLISON HORE
The first draft of the much-anticipated Pyrmont Place Strategy has been unveiled and it’s already raising eyebrows.
After months of consultation with the community and a detailed study by the NSW Government, the draft strategy which explores future development frameworks in the Pyrmont peninsula over the next two decades was released to the public on Friday.
In a statement, Committee for Sydney CEO, Gabriel Metcalf, praised the strategy and said “Pyrmont has enormous potential” which the strategy will help the suburb realise.
“Creating this strategy was a complex task and all those involved should be proud of creating a robust vision,” he said.
“The Government has made some big decisions that will benefit Pyrmont and the rest of Sydney for generations to come”.
The draft place strategy sets out five “Big Moves” which will help Pyrmont to realise this potential including the construction of a “world class” foreshore precinct, venues for 24-hour entertainment, a new Metro station to make Pyrmont a destination, more public spaces and better public transport and pedestrian links.
Mr. Metcalf also highlighted the important part Pyrmont will play in Sydney’s post-COVID economic recovery, saying that “allowing more growth, supported by additional infrastructure such as a Metro stop, will help to make this a reality.”
The key sites for development and the creation of new jobs outlined in the strategy are Blackwattle Bay, The Star Casino site, Harborside Shopping Center and UTS in Ultimo. The government estimates that up to 23,000 jobs and 800,000 square metres of extra commercial and office space will be created across the peninsula by 2041.
However, it’s not all praise for the draft strategy. Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has criticised the strategy for potentially giving the Star Casino’s controversial 51-storey Ritz-Carlton hotel at Pyrmont the green light.
“The Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy must not become an exercise in retrofitting controls to justify the Star Casino’s inappropriate tower,” she commented in a Tweet.
Initially the Star’s plans for a $500-million Ritz Carlton hotel were blocked by the NSW government due to its imposing physical presence. However, under the strategy, buildings of up to 180m would be allowed on the Star Casino site, opening the possibility for the Star’s development to be reconsidered.
Ms. Moore said the City of Sydney supports a “vibrant” mixed-use precinct with additional housing and supports an increase in building heights when it is in the right location and used for the right purpose. But she asserts The Star Casino’s proposal, which she describes as “a towering monument to gambling”, is neither.
“New development should complement and enhance the area, and be governed by a unified planning framework that meets the needs of all the community, not designed to make exceptions for wealthy gambling magnates,” she said.
While she is critical of the implications the strategy has for the Star Casino, Ms. Moore praised some of the other moves outlined in the draft.
“There are some big ideas in the strategy that we do indeed welcome, including a metro station at Pyrmont and the return of Wentworth Park to people as high-quality parkland,” she said.
“Such moves are crucial to the future success of this important precinct.”
Mr. Metcalf thinks the involvement of the local community in creating the strategy is crucial, and says it’s important that they remain part of the process moving forward.
“It’s also important that residents have been consulted, and continue to be consulted, as part of this process. Success will mean a better Pyrmont for those who live there, as well as visitors,” he said.
The draft Place Strategy is on exhibition until midnight Sunday September 13. Members of the public are invited to provide feedback on the strategy online through the NSW Government’s planning portal, by email, or by phone.