City News

Community group call on Paul Keating to secure public space in Blackwattle Bay renewal

Blackwattle Bay renewal plans have 30% public space allocated. Pressure from Paul Keating meant Barangaroo Headland was delivered with 50% public space. Photo: Ruth Caro.


The Blackwattle Bay Precinct Plan has been criticised as being designed for profits not people.

The Bays Water Club Collective represents nearly 2000 people who row, kayak and dragon boat and use the Bays for exercise and recreation every week.

Jacob White, the convener of the Collective is a rower and by trade, a town planner.

He said in a letter to former PM Paul Keating that when he studied urban planning at university, he was taught it was Keating’s strategic and commanding interventions at the Barangaroo Delivery Authority that gifted Sydney with Barangaroo Headland.

In 2015 Keating pushed to recreate the original headland at Barangaroo which delivered 50% public open space across the site.

In a video published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Keating said the result would have never come out of the state planning process.

“Not a chance,” he said.

The Bays Water Club Collective sent the letter to Keating to request that he support calls for a higher quality development.

“When they developed Barangaroo it was just a concrete block, the same as the Bays is now,” White told City Hub.

“We’ve only got 30% public open space in Blackwattle Bay, whereas Barangaroo got 50%.”

State Significance

Blackwattle Bay Precinct Plan is a State Significant precinct, which means amendments to zones and planning controls can be made.

State significant precincts are projects of state or regional importance for achieving government policy objectives, particularly those relating to increasing delivery of housing and jobs.

The Blackwattle Bay renewal plans to deliver 1550 dwellings providing for a population of around 2800 residents and commercial and retail floor space with potential to deliver 5600 jobs.

The Bays Water Club Collective said, “State Significant Developments means the Minister is able to make wholesale changes to local zoning and planning controls with minimal input from the local community or from council.

“The critical first stage of the Bays redevelopment should be creating opportunities for community input. Instead, this proposal is actively removing them.

“Government exempting itself from its own rules undermines the integrity of the planning system and erodes community trust in government.”

White told City Hub the government ignored their own recommendations for safety measures to be put in place to manage the growth in maritime traffic, and that most of the shoreline has been set aside for future marinas which will be introduced over the next thirty years.

He said the Collective is concerned that Blackwattle Bay has been broken off from the rest of the bays in this stage of development.

“We’re concerned that they’re going to see what they can get away with in this little corner of the bay and then just roll that out across the rest of the bays and say, well we did that here so we can do it over here as well,” he said.

The Blackwattle Bay Precinct Plan is on exhibition and taking submissions until August 20.

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