City News

Blackwattle Bay: Renewal plan sparks community outrage over ‘unnecessary’ high-rise development

The plans for development for the Sydney Fish Markets and Blackwattle Bay have caused frustration in the inner-city. Photo: NSW Government

By TESSA PELLE

Inner-city locals are outraged over the NSW Government’s plans to redevelop Blackwattle Bay and the Sydney Fish Markets.

The proposed vision of the new site went on public exhibition last week and includes 1150 new residential apartments and high-rise towers of up to 45 storeys.

Convenor of Pyrmont Action Group Elizabeth Elenius says the height of the new buildings will overshadow the area.

“It’s like Pyrmont’s become a medieval fortress. We have a wall along the eastern side of Darling Harbour where we’re cut off from the CBD and now, they want a wall along the western side of the peninsula – we’re walled in,” Elenius told City Hub.

“Quite clearly, 45 storey towers do not complement or enhance the area.”

In 2020, the State Government consulted the community on three precinct scenarios to revitalise Blackwattle Bay. Elenius however says the redevelopment “pulled the rug out from under us.”

“I’m on the community reference group [for the Bays Precinct] and at no stage in any of the discussions we’ve had has the prospect of 45 storey towers been raised so when the three scenarios came out, we were shocked,” she said.

Community uproar

Elenius says her biggest frustration is the lack of community involvement in the planning of the proposed development.

“There’s been no community input into the height of the buildings. We got the report of the scenario so-called consultation, but they didn’t take into account any of the qualitative remarks you could put in.”

Hands off Glebe community spokesperson Denis Doherty says he is disappointed with how community concerns have been addressed.

“It’s not so much a lack of consultation, it’s the way in which the consultation happened. It’s more in the way of persuading rather than listening to the community,” Doherty told City Hub.

“They try to manipulate and smooch up to people rather than consulting and seeing what’s good for the community and the suburb.”

The revitalised Sydney Fish Market proposes to move to the head of Blackwattle Bay, where Doherty says the area could have been used for an alternative space.

‘There was a chance for the harbourside area to be a free and open space and for people to have a walkway along it, and then the government goes and whacks a dirty big building in it,” he said.

“Their bottom line is profit, not community.”

The development proposal expects to create around 5,600 new jobs. City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has said the redevelopment lacked thoughtful community planning.

“Having seen what is planned for the former Fish Markets site, it appears the redevelopment was a Trojan Horse for large apartment towers designed not with people in mind, but maximum developer profits,” Lord Mayor Moore told City Hub.

“Revitalising this area provides us with enormous potential but at the forefront of planning must be the understanding that this is publicly-owned land and its development must bring clear public benefits.”

The redevelopment plans will be on public exhibition until August 6.

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