City News

Pyrmont community pinched for space with centre set for upgrades

Pyrmont has a high population density of 133 persons per hectare, compared to the LGA which is 78 persons per hectare, according to the NSW government. Photo: City of Sydney.

By EVA BAXTER

Design development of the Pyrmont community centre is underway, and a development application is expected to be lodged mid-September.

City of Sydney Council endorsed the refurbishment of the centre in 2020 and the expansion of the project scope in July 2021.

The upgrade and new addition to the centre will commence in mid to late 2022 and it will take 70 weeks, opening early 2024.

The plans will add more facilities and upgrade the community spaces in the centre.

As Pyrmont’s population swelled in the 2000s, demand for community spaces and facilities mushroomed.  Residents formed the Friends of the Pyrmont Community Centre and worked to initiate a wide range of programs.

“In the last 15 years we’ve managed to make the Pyrmont community centre the most active Community Centre in the City of Sydney area,” Mary Mortimer, convener of the Friends of Pyrmont Community Centre told City Hub.

Among the 50 programs now running are line dancing, yoga, a choir, cook group, women’s art group, drama group and games.

No room for activities

She said the group is pleased with the upgrades but will need space to host their activities when the lockdown period ends and construction begins.

“There doesn’t seem yet to be provision for an alternative venue for all of the activities that currently would be taking place while the construction goes on, and the construction is at the moment forecast to last for 70 weeks, so that’s over a year of no access to the community centre facilities,” said Mortimer.

Mortimer said the Council should consider renting space.

A City of Sydney spokesperson said they will investigate how community activities and programming can continue during the proposed construction period, including the use of Maybanke Recreation Centre for some activities where suitable.

Mortimer said the community has been pushing for the Maybanke Centre to be rebuilt as an indoor outdoor recreation centre, as there is no full size sporting court of any kind in Pyrmont.

The upgrades will include an additional 60 square metre community room, a new entry foyer, ground floor toilets and office, the first-floor gym will expand, the main hall, library link and community room will be refurbished and outside school hours care service facilities and courtyard play equipment will be upgraded.

There will also be a new lift, although there is some concern a lift will contest a ramp.

The City of Sydney spokesperson said, “the Outside School Hours Care program currently run from Pyrmont Community Centre will be temporarily relocated to Ultimo Community Centre.”

“The SDN Pyrmont early childhood education centre will remain open while construction is underway. We are working closely with SDN to minimise the impact of construction on their operations.”

It is not as convenient for Pyrmont parents to have their children in childcare in Ultimo, but Mortimer suggests it may be possible to revert the childcare areas into space for the general community.

Residents will be able to have their say on the development application from mid-September.

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