Assurance Review on planning in the Ryde LGA, Listening Session 1

Okay. Well, hello and greetings everybody. Thank you very much for coming here to speak
to us on Chinese New Year of all evenings. I don’t think we actually twigged that this
was Chinese New Year when we set the date so particularly thankful to you for coming
along tonight and Kung Hei Fat Choy. And I’d also very importantly like to acknowledge
the traditional owners and custodians of this land on which we meet and acknowledge their
elders past, present and emerging. My name is Lucy Turnbull. I am the Chief Commissioner of the Greater
Sydney Commission and I welcome you all to this Assurance Panel Listening Session. Assurance Reviews are designed to support
the effective implementation of strategic plans and to get the best outcomes for the
community and for the environment. As well as this Assurance Review, the GSC
is currently working with 33 local councils to ensure their Local Strategic Planning Statements
and local environmental plans will deliver the Greater Sydney Region Plan and relevant
District Plans and the directions contained therein. And it’s important for everybody to understand
that our Region Plan and our District Plans were co-created with local government and
the whole wider Sydney community. We had comments, face to face contact with
over 25,000 people when we were developing our Plans and there were about 750 points
of social media contacts. So, we consulted very long and widely on two
occasions during the preparation of the Plans. And the local government were key partners
for us in this so that our Plans, we believe, reflect – especially the District Plans reflect
the visions and the priorities which the community told us were very important. Now, the Assurance Review relevant in tonight’s
proceedings is being undertaken at the request of the Premier in accordance with the Greater
Sydney Commission Act to provide advice and to make recommendations to the Premier on
matters relating to planning and development in the Greater Sydney Region. The Premier asked the Greater Sydney Commission
to conduct an Assurance Review with regard to planning in this Ryde Local Government
area with a particular focus on Macquarie Park Investigation Area and its broader impact
on the Ryde LGA. The Ryde LGA and Macquarie Park are recognised
by the Commission as being critical for the whole of Greater Sydney. For example, in the North District Plan the
strategic centre of Macquarie Park is noted as being part of the Eastern Economic Corridor
and is identified as being a health and education precinct. It’s also already the largest non-CBD office
market in Australia and a really significant centre for jobs creation, and for economic
activity. This Assurance Review is not looking at individual
Development Applications or planning proposals but at the broader strategic planning context
in this Ryde LGA. As detailed in the Review Terms of Reference
which is on the website, the Commission will provide the Premier a preliminary assessment
identifying key matters for further analysis later this month. The Commission will then report to the Premier
fully in May with an assessment of the current situation and any steps the Commission believes
we would recommend to be taken to improve outcomes for the current and future residents
of the Ryde LGA. Tonight’s session is an opportunity for
the Panel to listen to your views and in the interests of high levels of transparency,
we’re listening to people in public and it is being video-recorded. On behalf of my colleague, Deputy Chief Commissioner
and Economic Commissioner, Geoff Roberts, I’d like to thank you very much for giving
up your time to participate and I’d also like to acknowledge the presence of your local
member, Victor Dominello and the Mayor of Ryde, Councillor Laxale. This is Councillor Laxale here. Okay, thank you. I would like to pass over to our excellent
facilitator for tonight, Meredith Jones, who works with us at the GSC and will explain
further how this session will proceed. Thanks very much. Thank you, Lucy. Good evening and welcome everybody. I am the Director of Engagement at the Greater
Sydney Commission and I have the pleasure of facilitating tonight’s session. The Assurance Panel comprises our Chief Commissioner
Lucy Turnbull and our Deputy Chief Commissioner and Economic Commissioner, Geoff Roberts. Colleagues from the Commission are also here
providing assistance, including Kristin, who is at the front taking notes. Before I continue I should state that all
Greater Sydney Commissioners must make an annual Declaration of Interest identifying
potential conflicts with their appointed role. For the record we are unaware of any conflicts
in relation to the Assurance Review. You can find additional information on the
way we manage potential conflicts in our policy, which is available on the Commission’s website,
along with our Code of Ethics and Conduct Policy. As you are advised in communication from the
Commission in recent days, this session is being filmed and may be available on the Commission’s
website. The Listening Session gives the Panel the
opportunity to hear your views on planning in the Ryde Local Government Area with a particular
focus on the Macquarie Park Investigation Area and its broader impact on the Ryde Local
Government Area. As part of this process the Panel has also
met with local Council and State Government agency staff. The Panel has also participated in a bus tour
of some relevant sites in the Ryde Local Government Area. There are some ground rules for this evening. Before we hear from our first registered speaker
I would like to lay some rules for how we expect everyone taking part in this evening
to behave. First, today’s session isn’t a debate. Our Panel will not be taking questions from
the floor and no interjections are allowed. Our aim is to provide maximum opportunity
for registered speakers to be heard by the Panel. Public speaking is an ordeal for many people
though you may not agree with everything that you’re hearing here today each speaker has
the right to be heard with respect and heard in silence. Today’s focus is on listening. The Panel is here to listen, not to comment. They may ask questions for clarification,
but this is usually unnecessary. It will be most beneficial if your presentation
is focused on issues of concern to you. It is most important that every person who
is registered to speak receives a fair share of time. I am going to be enforcing time-keeping rules. A warning bell will sound with one minute
before the speaker’s allotted time is up and chimes will ring at the five-minute mark. That’s a subtle warning to wind things up. Please respect these time limits. Though we’ll strive to speak to our schedule
today, speakers sometimes go faster than we imagine, so this evening may go faster but
everybody who has registered to speak has arrived. If possible, it would be appreciated if you
have presentational speaking notes if you could present that to Amanda who is just walking
that way – if you could give it to her at the end of the evening just for record-keeping
purposes. Audio-recording and photography of the session
is not allowed, with the exception of the official recording and any media in the room
for note-taking purposes. Craig Middleton, from the Commission, who
will raise his hands is here if there are any media in the room and they have any questions. Everyone who is speaking today will have a
maximum of five minutes to present to the Panel. As I mentioned before, bell at four – chimes
at five minutes. When you present to the Panel can you please
come to the front, take a seat at the table and begin by introducing yourself. You should also advise the Panel if you’re
speaking on behalf of a company, an organisation or a community group. Housekeeping and safety. In the event of a fire or other emergency
please make your way out the door that you entered through and then keeping going to
your right and you will find the fire exit which will take us directly outside the building. Can I also ask, one of the key risks that
we’ve identified this evening is trip hazards, if you have a bag, speakers will be getting
up and sitting down and moving around the room. If you can make sure that your bag is either
on your chair or underneath you, we would appreciate that. The restrooms are in the same direction as
the emergency exit so if you just go out the door that you came in and keep following around
to your right you’ll find the restrooms. We have food, coffee, tea and water if you
need sustenance during the evening. Finally, I would ask that everybody please
turn off their mobile phones. It’s going to be a very exciting evening
and we want to make sure everyone can hear. Thank you. And with that I would like to call our first
speaker who is Mark Grayson from Frank Knight Town Planning. Thank you. Lucky number one. Yes. Welcome. Hi there. Welcome, thanks for coming. Thank you, Chief Commissioner. Thank you, Commissioner Roberts. I do have a presentation too if I can talk
to that at the same time if that’s okay by you. Yes. So, yes – Mark Grayson from Knight Frank Town
Planning and we represent a group of seven landholders for land area circa 5.7 hectares
if I am able to refer to now if I can? Yes. Which is referred to as the Wicks Road Civic
Quarter. By way of reference if I can, Chief Commissioner,
we certainly on behalf of the land owners definitely support this review process and
we would hope that part of the outcome of this review process is a recommendation that
certainly those proposals that do have good planning and community outcomes for Ryde are
unable to proceed. And I think certainly our view is that the
Wicks Road Civic Quarter certainly will deliver good planning and community outcomes for Ryde. By way of reference, if I can, in terms of
the map that you can see there up on the screen, so the heavy edge area bounded by red is the
Wicks Road Civic Quarter and you can see it’s on the effectively what we would describe
as the eastern fringe of the Investigation Area and you can see it’s immediately adjacent
to the North Ryde Station precinct as well. And as I mentioned that comprises circa 5.7
hectares in total. It’s bounded by Wicks Road on its western
boundary and by Epping Road on its southern boundary and by Lachlan’s Line on its – the
other boundary effectively – so by way of reference. Importantly, also if I can point out the location
relative to the North Ryde and Macquarie Park Metro Stations as well. It’s approximately 800 metres distance to
both of those stations. Chief Commissioner, and Commissioner Roberts
I guess by way of introducing the Wicks Road Civic Quarter if I can and to get your bearings
and if I can use the pointer here – excuse me – so Lachlan’s Line I mentioned before,
as I mentioned Epping Road, Wicks Road, the Ryde Metro Station. I guess it’s important to emphasise that
it’s completely understood the importance of a Planned Precinct in effect and the opportunity
of that arises in terms of a broader connected precinct, not just to the site itself but
also importantly to some of the surrounding activities and potential other redevelopment
opportunities. Certainly, if I can point out some of those
key ones to you, Chief Commissioner, by way of reference to the ex-Peter Board High School
site to the immediate west of our site. This plan, which is very much a work in progress
can I say, is a schematic, which has endeavoured to understand how the site might better connect
in terms of a wider whole or precinct plan and I guess our view is Chief Commissioner
and Commissioner Roberts is that we certainly as I mentioned before understand the importance
of a plan – excuse me – that delivers a much wider community and planning outcome for Macquarie
Park and in this case what we call Wicks Road. By way of reference as well if I can so also
then the link across Epping Road to the tennis courts and other recreational facilities and
also you may also be aware of the announcement late last year by the Minister for Planning
in relation to a bridge crossing from Lachlan’s Line through to the Ryde Rail Station as well. Can you just point out where that is? Through here, Commissioner. Yes. Okay. Yes. Chief Commissioner I should say. I think it’s also important to really – as
we would call it our immediate neighbour and our immediate neighbour is Lachlan’s Line
and if I can point out in terms of where we are – obviously we can see we are a boundary
on this plan here – but also importantly in terms of this schematic – if I can call it
that, and we can see in relation to this in fact is the Wicks Road Quarter here. Chief Commissioner and Commissioner I guess
what we would like to emphasise is the strategic merit of the Wicks Road Quarter, being within
the 800 metres, the two future Metro stations, strategic location adjacent to the North Ryde
Station Precinct as mentioned before. We would of course give the site within the
Investigation Area. It’s on the fringe of the commercial core
and in itself a potential for significant local job creation. Some of the early work done in terms of the
economics of it have confirmed that the existing number of 600 jobs might be in the order of
2,000 jobs in a proper integrated mixed-use scheme. Certainly, also we emphasise importance of
a Planned Precinct as I mentioned before, a significant greenspace of parkland for potential
of the possible skill infrastructure as part of that broader Macquarie Park Education Precinct
as also announced by government late last year and the connection to North Ryde and
the station, and basically in terms of its potential for a proper Planned Precinct for
the area. Now, unfortunately your five minutes has expired. I know. I had one more slide, Commissioner. Or could you indulge me? No – we’ll give you one more minute and
then – yes – okay. Okay. Thank you very much. So, in short – and in summary – Chief Commissioner
I guess what we’d say is that Wicks Road is the unique opportunity for a large-scale
integrated approach to precinct planning. They are land owners capable with the capacity
to deliver infrastructure and a project of this scale. It’s a site capable of incorporating large
scale community infrastructure and we would also say it’s unlike any other site within
the Ryde Local Government Area, Chief Commissioner. Yes. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Excellent. Whilst our next speaker is coming up I would
just like to mention that our North District Commissioner Deb Dearing has arrived, and
she is at the back there. Okay. Our second speaker is Adrian Checchin from
Mirvac. Good evening, Chief Commissioner Turnbull
and deputy Chief Commissioner and Economics Commissioner Roberts. Thank you for the opportunity of addressing
the Ryde Assurance Panel. My name is Adrian Checchin and I am a Development
Director at Mirvac. I take this opportunity to address the Panel
as a long-term land owner of a strategic 2.25-hectare property located on the corner of Waterloo
and Lane Cove Roads at Macquarie Park. We have owned the property since 2000. Our property adjoins the southernmost Macquarie
Park Train Station. The site of the station was actually owned
by Mirvac and the State Government acquired it from us in order to place the station there. We’ve had ongoing discussions in relation
to planning with Council and the State Government for many, many years and we do express a strong
interest in the strategic long-term land ownership and the successful redevelopment of Macquarie
Park. Presently, approximately 880,000 square metres
of commercial stock exists in Macquarie Park, being one of the largest office precincts
in Sydney, as you mentioned earlier. Whilst this is an impressive statistic, the
reality of what Macquarie Park actually is, what it offers and its role into the future
is very different. Some points which are pertinent to the GSC’s
review. Macquarie Park is essentially an outdated
quasi-industrial office environment with very high levels of parking. Traffic issues plague the area with most users
commuting by car during AM and PM peak periods. Macquarie Park Station is severely under-utilised. It ranks 65 out of 178 train stations for
local trips in New South Wales. It represents one of the lowest train usage
per job ratios of .11 per cent. Only approximately 15 percent of the workforce
get to Macquarie Park by train. It’s very, very difficult to attract new
commercial users to Macquarie Park. The last substantial tenancy was Optus back
in 2007. In relation to supply, presently under the
existing planning controls there’s anywhere from between 50 to 200 years of office supply
without changing anything in Council’s LEP. As two prime examples of how difficult it
actually is to get tenants to Macquarie Park. In 2007 Mirvac received development consent
for 37,000 square metres of new office space for half of our site despite actively seeking
tenants for now 11 years we have been unable to secure a pre-commitment and directly across
the road from us on the other side, the other station entry – Winton and Frasers have an
approval for 83,000 square metres and they similarly have not been able to secure a pre-commitment. Major organisations such as Atlassian have
been on the record saying that they will not consider moving to Macquarie Park and very
recently our Premier she had to defend the government’s announcement of Central to
Eveleigh when she was asked why the government would fund a new precinct when precincts such
as Macquarie Park already existed. The answer that she replied was that the users
of these premises are young tech-savvy entrepreneurial people and they want to work somewhere cool. So, a lack of amenity and vibrancy is a fundamental
issue that needs to be addressed before Macquarie Park can take its next step to become a recognised
business destination of choice. To this end we commend the State Government
in identifying Macquarie Park as an Urban Renewal Area. The Department of Planning and Environment
has done many years of work and were very enthused when they appointed the ARUP Cities
Team to undertake a review on behalf of the Department of Planning and the GSC’s involvement
now will make sure that no stone is left unturned. So, in the second quarter, as everyone is
aware, of 2019 Sydney will experience a brand-new game changing infrastructure like we’ve
never seen. The North West Metro will be operational and
Macquarie Park is six stops from the Sydney CBD. In 2024, Sydney will be further connected
by the South-West Metro. A very, very rare opportunity exists at Macquarie
Park to allow for a mix of uses to support the principles of transport-orientated development
along the metro line by complementing existing commercial, educational and health services. If this is conceived correctly, the opportunity
can create a new mixed use, active, vibrant destination. One that will change Macquarie Park from being
a dreary, secondary office location of circumstance to a commercial and mixed-use destination
of choice. It’s very rare for an urban area of Sydney
to benefit from large, single-ownership land parcels where any future redevelopment impacts
are minimal. Provided the balance can be achieved with
infrastructure and public open space and public benefits and the like Macquarie Park could
become an area that is cool – that can become an area where Atlassian does want to be located. So, it could become an area where businesses
of the future choose to locate amongst the vibrant group of other uses. We’re fully supportive of all the work that’s
been completed to date and we look forward to the GSC completing the Review. With active, vibrant, mixed uses around the
Metro station being the catalyst for reinvigoration Macquarie Park could be truly special. However, if we just continue in the hope that
Macquarie Park will suddenly reinvigorate itself with more of the same our fear is that
we’ll be sitting here in 10 years’ time having the same discussion. Thank you, for your time. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. I’d now like to call our third speaker,
Michael Butterworth. I’m Michael. Good evening. I might just read something I wrote earlier,
if that’s all right. Yes. Are you from an organisation or an individual? No. I’m a local resident. Okay, good. Welcome. That’s great. Thank you. Good evening and thank you for the opportunity
to speak tonight. I suspect I am one of the only or one of the
very few speakers in this process who actually lives in Macquarie Park. It is my understanding that the Greater Sydney
Commission was initially established under the auspices of the Minister for Planning. It has now been moved to the Department of
Premier and Cabinet. So now the GSC is investigating the activities
of the Department of Planning. That certainly gives the impression that when
it comes to planning matters in this State that the right hand does not know what the
left hand is doing and that hardly builds confidence. I think, too, that this hearing has missed
a great opportunity by not holding this session in Macquarie Park. Members could have experienced the traffic
and seen firsthand the towering residential blocks that are devouring the business, commercial
and research sections of Macquarie Park. The original employment purpose of Macquarie
Park is constantly being undermined by the Planning Department’s and GSC’s ravenous
housing targets. And what a loss. A great, world-class university working alongside
industry to drive future employment and prosperity. All diminished for a few more blocks of units. This is so short-sighted. Then the Commission could have visited the
site of the $100 million Macquarie Bus Interchange. First promised as an infrastructure upgrade
in the 2007 Bennelong Bi-Election some 16 months ago, and this project is still being
spruiked by the State Government and the Member for Ryde in his current election material. No consultation with residents. Big plans but no delivery. The unit blocks went up and they continue
to go up, but the infrastructure is on the never-never. Members too could witness Waterloo Road before
the RMS execute their plans for a six-lane highway which will divide Macquarie Park in
two and destroy any pedestrian connectivity. And then there’s the Country Garden development
at Delhi Road, North Ryde. Again, the current Member for Ryde, MR DOMINELLO
MP appeared in a local paper way back in 2016 with another councillor to announce a dollar
for dollar upgrade totalling $20 million I think with Ryde Council for upgrades to Pittwater
and Wicks Road. Again, the units went up. Country Garden is there for all to see but
no road upgrade with the State Government now only wanting to upgrade Wicks Road and
not Pittwater Road and I hear that the State Government is now saying there isn’t enough
money for this project. I’m sure other speakers will like to cover
other topics, but I wanted to speak finally about Lachlan’s Line. Earlier this week the Premier was promoting
a Minister for Open Space. What a shame this is such a late development. Lachlan’s Line was publicly owned land and
would have made great open space for the residents of Ryde. Instead it was sold to developers to create
a 2,700-dwelling development for 5,000 residents. Landcom promoted it as a new suburb and that’s
all we need in North Ryde, another new suburb crammed into an existing one. And to add insult to injury – I know the Commissioner
asked about the pedestrian bridge from Lachlan’s Line to the station there. This is another good supposed great piece
of infrastructure, but it will result in tree removal at Bundara Reserve which is a very
rare turpentine ironbark community with an E-2 Conservation Rating. You cannot get a higher conservation rating
at E-2 but for the purposes of future – of this residential development – trees will
be removed there and Bundara Reserve will be impacted. So, I finish by saying we have seen with this
government – trees, the environment and the liveability of our existing suburbs always
finish a poor second when it comes to development. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’d now like to invite Raymond Herring to
come and address the Panel. Good evening. Welcome. My name is Raymond John Herring. I have lived here at [redacted], Ryde for
43 years. My wife, who was born here, lived in the same
house as a child except for two years. I am a retired ambulance paramedic and manager. I managed the Aeromedical and Medical Retrieval
Operations Centre and I am no stranger to government workings. My statement to this committee is about that
which is affecting us directly as the residents of the City of Ryde. This area is being turned into a ghetto of
the future through inappropriate overdevelopment without adequate infrastructure to support
the influx of people in the area we know as the Ryde City. The prolific high-density construction of
predominantly one- and two-bedroom apartments in the Shepherds Bay area with poor road access
is a good example of bad planning practices. With no additional transport infrastructure
and extremely poor road access for Emergency Services – all which need to be upgraded prior
to construction. The through-traffic in Ryde is so heavy that
rat-runs are becoming a safety nightmare for local residents. Epping Road, Lane Cove Road, and in particular
Church Street run over the Ryde Bridge is impossible. As an example, an accident or breakdown in
any lane north or southbound causes the traffic to grind to a halt. Late last year – I think November 2018 – two
government buses, a truck and two cars closed the entire street for over six hours. It’s a major thoroughfare from Mona Vale
to Sutherland. Traffic from Epping Road wanting to avoid
the traffic lights and congestion on Lane Cove Road travels via Wicks Road, Twin Road,
Boyce Street, Quarry Road and through our suburban street of [redacted]. Often at high speed rendering our street a
danger to the local residents. An example of that is on 24 February 2017,
my Nissan Patrol which is a fairly substantial vehicle was parked in the street outside our
residence and written off by a car travelling through that street, in excess of 100 kilometres
an hour. Submissions to Ryde City Council so far had
no action developed and that was submitted eight months ago. High-density multi-storey development in Macquarie
Park end of the city is not conducive to the wellbeing of the greater Ryde community. We have seen the fiasco of swift unchecked
high-rise development becoming a reality and whilst this example is not within Ryde Local
Government Area, the failure of the Opal Tower, and the huge impact that that has had on the
lives of those residents who bought and moved in just four months ago, in good faith, only
to have their dreams dashed, their lives turned into uncertainty and huge monetary loss. How many more of these fiascos are currently
in progress within this Local Government Area? The Ryde area is slowly being transformed
into a high-density low-quality area and successive governments, both local, state and federal,
are not serving the people as expected by local community. Decentralisation, efficient transport systems
would serve the community better than cramming more people into less space, open up more
land in the Western Sydney Basin for appropriate transport systems in place to coincide with
the growth in population and reduce immigration to a sustainable level. In short stop pandering to big developers
and do the right thing by the community as a whole. The elected officials are elected by us, are
employed by us and yet seem to be serving big business with no regard for the effect
that it has on us – the people. Thank you very much. Thank you. Right. Thank you. I would now like to call Bob Meyer from Cox
Architecture. Hi, Bob. Hi Bob. Hello. Good evening. My linkage with Macquarie Park is a bit historic
because between 1965 and 1969 I was the Assistant Architect Planner for Macquarie University
when it was first being developed and Macquarie Park was still part of the green belt. Some of you may know it’s very lucky that
the head of the Department of Planning, Nigel Ashton, happened to be at Stanford University
in the early 60’s and saw the beginnings of Silicone Valley with a small area where
a couple of young people called Hewlett and Packard were doing some work there and he
went back to the Minister and said the government should buy this land. The Minister said, “What a good idea. I’ve got no money left. It’s all been spent at Campbelltown but
why not just – why not zone it for high technology or for employment that is linked to the University
in its teaching and its research.” And therefore, that’s what happened and
that was the beginning of Macquarie Park. So, I have been very interested in it. It’s been a huge success I feel just as
the University has. Now, Macquarie Park has been suggested in
several strategic plans as Sydney’s third centre, after the Sydney’s CBD and Parramatta,
it’s been said that Macquarie Park could become the third centre because the number
of people that could be employed in there. And that may or may not be right but – and
this could be facilitated also by the new Metro stations which will open shortly. However, what Macquarie Park lacks, in my
opinion, is a pedestrian environment and an identity as a key metropolitan centre. I suggest that this could be achieved by the
business park spine, Waterloo Road between Herring and Lane Cove Roads, being transformed
into a first class boulevard, for want of a better name, retaining vehicular traffic
but dramatically enhancing the pedestrian experience by fronting Waterloo Road with
activities, such as coffee shops, restaurants, boutique shops, book shops and other activities
which line major city centre streets, providing a pleasant walkable experience found in the
most memorable centres in the world. Waterloo Boulevarde would allow Macquarie
Park’s workers and visitors, highly walkable access to the new metro stations and it doesn’t
surprise me when I was just told the few people who use the rail stations at the moment, because
it’s not a very pleasant walk from their office to those stations. Even though they’re only about a five-minutes’
walk. We know that without a pedestrian environment
it’s not very pleasant to walk to these places. Waterloo Boulevarde, again for want of a better
name would allow Macquarie Park’s workers and visitors highly walkable access to the
new Metro stations, to the University and the newly developing shopping centre as well
as new community facilities which could be located in the Macquarie Park Centre. Waterloo Road could still cater for traffic,
particularly buses, such as the Perth Central Area Transport Bus – which is a free bus serving
the Perth CBD. Or the driverless shuttle bus which is now
being trialled by the New South Wales Government at Sydney Olympic Park. How can Waterloo Road boundaries be lined
with activities? The original requirement was for Macquarie’s
buildings – the buildings to take up one third of the site. The other third was for parking and the other
third was for landscape. So, the buildings went in the middle of the
site – the park – surrounded by parking with landscaping around the building leaving Waterloo
Road free of any development and not very interesting at all. So, if in fact more people can walk to the
stations in a pleasant environment and also if it would encourage people to leave their
place of work at say lunch time and communicate with others – the Brookings Institution, for
instance, talks about collaboration between people in businesses. Can you wrap up please Bob? Yes. Yes. Yes, and I’m almost finished here. And therefore, they could build along
Waterloo Street and really provide a really fine image for Macquarie Park to help it transition
to one of Sydney’s great centres. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, Bob. Sorry, I took so much time. Okay, thank you so much. Thank you. I’d now like to call Cathy Merchant from
the Ryde Hunter’s Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society to address the Panel. There you go. Yes, you’re miked up. Okay. Hello. I’m miked up. Yes. Yes. Welcome. Thank you. Thanks for coming. I’m from – yes, from the Ryde Hunters Hill
Flora and Fauna Preservation Society. Now my focus tonight is limited to the protection
of the environment and our serious concerns that remnant bushland is being destroyed within
North Ryde and we feel this is in disregard of the stated priorities and actions of the
District North Plan. And we note that a lot of the development
within the Macquarie Investigation Area has occurred under the major project’s approvals
process and outside Council’s strategic planning controls. Now, I’ll elaborate on our previous submissions
which we sent through but using the concept DA for the Ivanhoe Estate master plan by way
of example of how development within the MIA has failed to protect irreplaceable biodiversity. The overall planning context of the Concept
Master Plan for Ivanhoe should consider that it is public land. Similarly to the M2 surplus public land development
at Lachlan’s Line, the Ivanhoe Place Concept Master Planning appears driven by revenue
raising opportunities for the State with disregard of the broader public benefits that protection
of natural areas on public land provides for future residents. The GSC has identified an improving sustainability
will involve incorporating natural landscape features into the urban environment. And we understand this city in its landscape
concept. In implementing this concept, the GSC has
stated the importance of protecting and enhancing biodiversity and increasing urban tree canopy. Historically, North Ryde shale soils, like
much of Western Sydney were highly valued for their agricultural productivity, and unlike
the poor rocky soils of sandstone country, much of the land in North Ryde was cleared
for market gardens. Now, whilst National Parks now protect local
sandstone vegetation, the remnant shale bushland in North Ryde, such as at Ivanhoe Place, is
not well protected within the National Parks estate. This is even though it is a very significant
biodiversity value and listed as critically endangered Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forests
and protected under National and State Threatened Species laws. However, the concept DA for Ivanhoe Place
submitted by a public trading enterprise but with no land owner’s consent included on
the application form that we could find proposes to destroy and fragment the endangered shale
forest and remove over 311 trees including hollow-bearing trees. We feel this is absolutely contradictory to
the GSC’s objectives. Further, supporting documents to the DA failed
to identify many things. All of the threatened species on the site,
the drainage lines across the site, how habitat connectivity will be achieved, the impact
of deep soil excavation, the viability of future replacement trees, the installation
of nesting boxes to replace removed hollows. Nor does the application make referral to
the Commonwealth, for ecological assessment of the impact of the Master Plan. We are not assured by these identified inadequacies
that the Concept Master Plan complies with the strategic plan. We feel that GSC should intervene to ensure
the development footprint of the exhibited Concept Master Plan is modified to protect
the environment at Ivanhoe Place. We understood that another of the goals for
the GSC was to integrate transport corridor and infrastructure planning within a strategic
planning context and achieve improved sustainability for Sydney’s growth. The Concept Master Plan proposes a slip road
off Epping Road, through the core habitat area of the endangered forest. This seems totally contrary to the GSC’s
three proposed actions to protect and enhance biodiversity, one of which includes to manage
urban development and urban bushland to reduce edge-effect impacts. Further, the removal of a large number of
trees along Epping Road is contrary to the GSC’s stated intent to sustain a boulevard
of trees along corridors such as Epping Road. As raised in our previous submission, we have
concerns with the way major development has been progressed in the MIA. This seems via an initial concept approval
but in the absence of assessment of the environmental impact of the detailed designs necessary later
on. Recently we saw this at Lachlan’s Line as
the design details of the concept approved pedestrian cycle-way bridge across Delhi Road
emerged. What had been presented during the community
consultative phase as a minimum impact bridge with piers mostly contained at road level
or nearby had morphed into something reminiscent of the Utopia series. We call it Big Blue. Big Blue will be built fully on RMS land below
the road level and adversely impact in the endangered shale forest and on adjoining Bundara
Reserve. Past attempts by Ryde Council to consolidate
the remnant forest on Bundara had included rezoning of the adjoining RMS land to E2 for
environmental protection, since part of this land contained endangered shale forest. A middle pier is now located on the E2 land
and hope of ecological restoration abandoned. Unlike Ivanhoe Place, the endangered shale
forest at Bundara is of a smaller size and did not trigger assessment by the Commonwealth. The offset credits were determined by the
new weakened State Government biodiversity process. It was paid as money to Ryde Council which
can spend it on environmental projects but not necessarily projects that improve the
longer-term viability of Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in Ryde LGA. It is our concern that the endangered shale
forest at Ivanhoe Place will be further fragmented after the approval of the Concept Master Plan. This will affect its longer-term ecological
integrity and viability, detailed subdivision of the individual lots across the site will
be progressed by the weaker State biodiversity laws, the remnant forest will not be a sufficient
site to trigger Commonwealth laws. Thank you for an opportunity. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, Ms Merchant. Thank you. I’d now like to call Penny Joseph. Thank you. Hello Penny. Hello, how are you? You’re from? I’m a local resident in North Ryde. Okay. And I think I have a slide. So, I wanted to speak in support of the liveability
objectives of the GSC and what I wanted to propose here is a really pragmatic way that
I can see that can be achieved here in Ryde. So, I live almost at Macquarie Park and I
work in Parramatta and what I find is if I cycle to work – it says an hour and seven
minutes there on the Google Maps – it takes someone like me about 55 minutes and I think
for someone fitter than me it probably takes – you know – 30 or 40 minutes. But what’s really interesting about this
piece is that there’s a great cycleway going from Macquarie Park and it goes all the way
to the end of Santa Rosa Park. And then from Meadowbank there’s a great
cycle way along the river. But there’s a little piece and it’s only
a couple of kilometres from Santa Rosa Park to here that actually takes the vast majority
of the time and you have to kind of detour like this to actually ride safely. But what’s really interesting about that
if you actually look on the map the link from here to here is almost all State Government
land. So, there’s – you know – waterway precincts,
there’s the TAFE facility which is being redeveloped. There’s the train line and almost all of
it is potentially – you know – State Government owned land. And so why that’s really interesting is
if you speak to the community in North Ryde they have got this access, apart from here
to here, to cycle ways that can take them all the way to Cronulla – this great opportunity
for recreation, for liveability outcomes but they don’t know it. And what’s especially interesting is the
new education precinct in Meadowbank that’s proposed. I don’t know how many thousands of students
are going to be there, but I just think it’s a wonderful opportunity because that pathway
that are proposed – that’s, sorry – don’t look at – I haven’t actually mapped out. That’s just the Google Maps where it takes
you. But if you actually map it out there’s an
opportunity to take the cycleway straight through that precinct and I think that’s
such an amazing opportunity because it allows kids to cycle to school, it allows parents
to talk to each other as they walk to school and I think that those kinds of interactions
are what creates a healthy community.’ So, the interesting thing I suppose when you
look at the proposal is it actually takes collaboration – right? Between a number of State Government agencies,
between the community, between the Council to actually achieve the outcome and as part
of my professional role I’ve had the opportunity to be participating in the GPOP GIC process
which the collaboration of all the agencies and it’s been such a wonderful opportunity. It’s been such, I just think it’s been
such an amazing process and more than the cycleway I think it’s the opportunity to
have this collaboration where people are agreeing on a vision and outcome, building each other
up, not tearing each other down, across all levels of government, across the different
agencies towards a common vision. And that’s really what I wanted to say. If we could replicate some of that collaboration
I think we could get outcomes like this. Thank you. Thank you very much. That’s a really good thought. Thank you. I’d like to ask Sheryl Barton to address
the Panel. Thank you. Hello Sheryl. Hi Sheryl. Good evening. Madam Chair, Commissioner Roberts and members
of the audience. Thank you for the opportunity to address you
this evening. Before highlighting key points of my submission,
I would like to explain my background and how I’m representing not only my concerns
but those of my extended family, my friends and my extended networks and local community. I’ve lived in the area for 43 years. I am a mother, a grandmother, a teacher in
the local school, an active member in the local church and member of social clubs. I am not a member of a political party and
the points I am raising this evening are frequently raised at every gathering that I attend. As you can see in my submission, I am recommending
a reduction in the housing targets for the City of Ryde and surrounding municipalities. Planning controls need to be returned to locally
controlled plans and greater regulation of building standards. As well more weight needs to be placed on
increasing environmental outcomes, with better design principles and controls. I have participated in many consultation events
over the past 10 years and I am disappointed that community concerns have not adequately
reflected in the determinations. Our community and local environment is becoming
increasingly degraded with reduced quality and amenity, over-crowding and unsustainable
density levels. We’ve got an increase in height and density
with land zoning changes, eliminating recreational facilities and reducing local employment opportunities. In my mind, the system is broken. The community concerns are ignored, processes
resulting in poor quality urban development which will be a burden for future generations
to deal with. Due to these issues, I feel our lifestyle
has been compromised in the following ways. I think we have an unfair housing supply target
of 7,600 for the Ryde area. It’s an uneven distribution of the growth
targets across Sydney and this target becomes an excuse for developers to seek an increase
of the bulk and scale of their projects. Number two – deregulation of building standards
and controls. There are obvious building failures, poorly
designed units, limited green space, poor materials, a reduction in the guarantee period
to report faults, private certifiers, all leading to the ghettos of the future. At local level, individual home owner can
build whatever they want, even with obvious non-compliances and damage to the adjoining
property and can continue to live in the property with the excuse, “Oh, but I am still renovating.” And this seems to go on indefinitely. Then there’s lack of quality designs suitable
for Australian climate. They are visually bland, wind tunnels, having
highly reflective surfaces and high-energy usage, for example air conditioners and clothes
dryers. Traffic issues – rat-runs in narrow streets,
across the municipality. Queues of traffic waiting to exit side roads
into larger roads, like Victoria Road, Lane Cove Road, Epping Road – not enough car-parking
spaces. Traffic light times not allowing cars out
of local streets. Local narrow streets cannot cope with the
extra parked cars and the traffic. Over-crowded public transport with trains
and buses with extended peak periods. Schools – overcrowded with playgrounds filled
with demountables. My school has 26 demountables on the playground. We had to have an evacuation practise to see
if we could all fit on the playground. Staggered recess – Sorry, which school is that? Epping West. Staggered recess and lunch times, lack of
staff toilets at the back of the playground, lack of rehearsal facilities because the school
has now become so large and lack of play areas. And it’s just grown exponentially, and I
don’t think that super schools are the answer. The more hard surfaces – the more heat. The west is hotter than the east as it is. The Ryde area is already, say six degrees,
hotter than say St Leonards. Too many hard surfaces mean more heat and
more water run-off flooding during storms. Disappearing popular icons meant for community
pleasure. Putt-Putt at Ermington disappeared and these
last three – only because of community uproar – Macquarie Centre Ice Rink, Smalls Road School,
and Tennis World at North Ryde which were all going to go. In summary we need a planning system that
protects the soul of the community instead of one that fast-tracks developer dollars. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. I’d now like to invite Bev Debrincat from
the International Environmental Weed Foundation Habitat Network. Hello Commissioner. Hello. Hello. Hi there, how are you? I’m very good, thank you. I’m Bev Debrincat and I’m representing
Habitat Network, Habitat Greater Sydney Landcare Network and I’m also on the Board of Landcare
New South Wales and we’re all not-for-profit organisations and volunteer based. Today, I’m talking about Habitat Network,
in particular, but we run small bird habitat corridors and we’ve got one in particular
in Macquarie Park, which runs along Shrimptons Creek. By small birds we’re talking about little
tiny Fairy Wrens, Red-Browed Finch and that sized bird. We’re losing our small birds from our urban
areas and we’re particularly losing them from Macquarie Park, due to the loss of habitat,
cleaning out weedy areas, lack of coordinated development for providing linked corridors
and developers removing all vegetation prior to new developments. What we would like to see is connected green
bushland network throughout Macquarie Park to benefit the flora and fauna but also the
people that are working and living within Macquarie Park. Shrimptons Creek small bird corridor runs
4.5 kilometres from Macquarie Road where the Habitat Community and Native Plant Nursery
and Food Garden is located, all the way down to Lane Cove River. It’s a very long narrow corridor and prone
to flooding. Our small bird population up till about 15
years ago was quite healthy down Shrimptons Creek and now we’re down to about 12 individuals
superb Fairy Wrens and White-Browed Scrub Wrens. That’s all that’s left. The impacts and issues on Shrimptons Creek
corridor is firstly Macquarie Shopping Centre is right over the top of the creek line which
doesn’t help for connection to Lane Cove River. The Ivanhoe Estate, which has already been
talked about, is being redeveloped from 350 to 3,500 residents plus a high school, plus
two-day care centres. Part of the Ivanhoe Estate is the Turpentine-Ironbark
Forest along Epping Road, which is the main connection for the habitat corridor from Shrimptons
Creek, through Macquarie University, across to Lane Cove River. We have been working with the developers who
have agreed to try and save a STIF but they’re still planning to put the slip road through
the middle of the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, not to mention there’s another road
that’s going to go across Shrimptons Creek as well. Redevelopment of other sites are happening
or imminent or planned and landscaped independently. No coordinated approach for shaded pathways,
green or habitat corridors, green places to relax et cetera. Habitat connection around Macquarie Shopping
Centre and through Macquarie University is getting more and more fragmented. The RMS recently removed a hundred or more
trees in order to put the bus routes in to replace the Metro while it’s being developed. And the RMS also cleaned up a habitat area
on the County Road Reserve which they said they were going to protect but didn’t. So, some solutions we’d like to suggest
is having detailed plans to protect and connect endangered ecological communities throughout
Macquarie Park, coordinated redevelopment along the creek line around Macquarie Shopping
Centre and through Macquarie University. Ivanhoe Estate to remove the planned slip
road through the STIF, smart environmental redevelopment to coordinate and plan with
neighbouring properties to include habitat connections, water savings, street trees,
shade trees, connected walkways away from the roads, shady lunch breakout areas – I
used to work in Macquarie Park and to go and have a quiet lunch you’d have to sit on
the edge of the car park – and nice places just for people to go. And also, there’s a great opportunity – most
of the councils are being pushed for additional sports fields. With all these developments it would be really
nice if they started incorporating some community assets and I like the gentleman’s idea of
having an innovative exciting place for young people to come and maybe having some more
sports facilities on top of rooftop screen gardens would actually be really nice and
I finished early. Oh, Bev, thank you so much. That’s all right. Thank you. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. I’d now like to invite Councillor Penny
Pedersen from the City of Ryde. Hello Councillor. Hello. Go back to the beginning of my speech. Thank you to the Greater Sydney Commission
and to you Commissioners Turnbull and Roberts for inviting our community to speak. I am a councillor at the City of Ryde and
a resident of East Ryde. I have just come from the Connect Macquarie
Park event where council is working very closely with business stakeholders to create a sense
of place and I’m genuinely excited about the ideas that I’ve heard there today. I feel that overdevelopment of residential
towers though, with a shortfall on infrastructure stands to ruin all of that. I have attended several workshops regarding
the Northern District Plan where I’ve asked in good faith how we as councillors after
having these massive Priority Precincts imposed on our community how we can implement any
of the excellent priorities you’ve set out? How, when infrastructure wasn’t in place
before the developments were approved, mature trees were removed, opportunities for more
green space were just built over? How do we claw back some control – particularly
since the State Government has taken away virtually all of our planning powers and farmed
them out to unelected paid Panels? I would like to touch on how I believe some
of the zonings and approvals made by the State are working at odds with some of your District
Plans here in Ryde. Your Commission lists improving the district’s
waterways as a priority. So many residents ask me – I get asked this
all the time – do we have adequate sewerage and stormwater infrastructure to sustain these
massive developments? It’s a great question. Who measures the strain these multiple Precincts
will have on the entire network of pipes and pump stations? Has there actually been any water-sensitive
urban design or river-friendly building standards considered in these precincts? Our river catchments will suffer greatly from
this massive sudden development. Just look at the proximity of the Ivanhoe
development to the sensitive eco-systems we have heard about at Shrimptons Creek. We recently saw the catastrophic failure of
the Northmead Sewerage Pump Station where the walls built early last century just collapsed. There are pump stations of that age all over
Sydney that must be upgraded particularly in areas earmarked for high density residential
development. It doesn’t matter how much time and energy
we put into community litter campaigns, in order to improve river health, sewerage overflow
rates in densely populated areas along the river catchment must be substantially reduced. The District Plan prioritises also the protection
of bushland and biodiversity. I feel the State Government ignored this priority
when they forced our community to fight off a threat to the significant biodiversity in
Bundara Reserve forcing us to campaign against them removing 28 trees that they claimed should
be removed to mitigate the effect of bird droppings on the paint. The District Plan identifies Epping Road as
a wildlife corridor, yet the State Government’s approval of the massive Ivanhoe project has
seen the removal of 858 mature trees. This development threatens to damage an endangered
Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and will block an important corridor, as we’ve heard,
for small birds and other wildlife as Bev pointed out. The Ivanhoe Estates footprint on the natural
and social landscape has been massive, which brings me to affordable housing. Ivanhoe has been introduced to the public
as a replacement for the public housing estate that existed there but what we really have
are 3,500 residential units replacing 700 public housing dwellings and only 250 extra
social housing units added. If this was earmarked for affordable and social
housing, why was an independent school added to the complex and not a public school that
could be free and accessible for everybody? So, the broader impact on Ryde Local Government
Area I think is very important, because I live outside the Investigation Area. The sudden increase in population there is
a massive strain on local government services and increased strain on our waste recovery
services when little of the waste recovery collected by the State Government is being
returned to the councils for help. Our library services, which become very important
social spaces with high-density living, are underfunded by the State and we desperately
need more floor space. Our sports fields are working at capacity. You don’t have to drive to Macquarie Park
Investigation Area to feel the impact of these big developments. You merely have to try driving through what
were once 50-kilometre – local streets – 50-kilometre-an-hour local streets all over the LGA – or try enrolling
your kids in a class with a decent class size and a proper building. Or try hiring a space, finding a park somewhere
at the shops, getting on a full bus to get to work. The impact is massive, it’s sudden, it’s
not organic and organised in a way that allows services to keep up. Our community is anxious, and they are angry. I became a Councillor to help them. I call on you to recommend to the State Government
that the Priority Precincts be abolished. And that planning powers for the Macquarie
Park corridor be returned to the City of Ryde so that we can implement your District Plan,
create a place for our community and as your Plan strives to do and this is in your Plan,
improve the quality of life for residents as the District grows and changes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’d now like to call Councillor Bernard
Purcell from the City of Ryde. Bernard. Hi there, Bernard. Hello councillor. Thanks for giving us this opportunity. I am addressing the Commission tonight as
a local Councillor and as a representative of Ryde Council on the Sydney North Planning
Panel. I have only held office for 16 months but
the realisation of how development is achieved in Ryde is worrying to say the least. Over the last eight years, planning powers
held by council have been eroded and blunted to the point where we have no say in any significant
project within our own city. Our own Planning and Environment Committee
which I chaired for all of three months – even though it dealt with smaller developments
was subsumed a year ago by the State introduced IHAPS which have since become Local Planning
Panels. Ryde’s very first Planning Panel last year
without any locally elected representative at all approved a development on Culloden
Road which did not meet all DCP requirements and had three breaches to the Apartment Design
Guide. Not a great start. The Sydney North Planning Panel is a problematic
organ to bigger developments. There are three State representatives and
two local Councillors that sit on that Panel. More often than not it is a three-two vote
in favour of developments – sort of a stacked deck in my mind. While I have comfortably voted in favour of
developments as part of the Sydney North Planning Panel as not all developments can be rejected
– we’re not silly – the very fact that there is a three-two vote means that we only have
a semblance of control over our own city’s planning decisions. Probably more significantly the State representatives
have been on these Panels across Sydney for years. That in itself is worrying. These Panel members are across many other
Planning Panels, and there is little change on who sits on them. They are often working within the building
development industry themselves and are certainly not obviously at arm’s length to development
across Sydney. Now I am not calling out any individual, Deb
– but I would say that there is potential there. It is interesting to note that Peter Debnam,
former leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party is Chair of the Sydney North Planning
Panel that is certainly open to potential pressure and/or land or coercion. As an example of poor outcomes for Ryde from
the Planning Panel the Greenland’s Project on Lachlan’s Line in the North Ryde Station
UAP failed Ryde residents for these reasons. The State sold public land to developers. The land could have been used for prized open
space. Council’s representation on the Planning
Panel was limited. It was of poor design with significantly limited
solar access due to an inappropriate heights and FSR. And the Panel noted – “The Panel notes that
the amount of sunlight received by this development both by apartments and the communal open spaces
is less than required by the ADG – Apartment Design Guide – and believes that this is the
result of an inappropriately high density that was previously approved for the site
by amendments to the Ryde LEP” under the urban activation. Finally, I cannot see how the bigger picture
of these areas with multiple developments are coordinated. Like Macquarie Park, everything has been built
to stand-alone projects. Where is the forethought in making the whole
area mesh and gel for all the users? Pedestrians, cyclists, motorists. We are desperately in need of a night-time
economy in Macquarie Park, but with all these developments being erected as “silos”
the State Government has no grand plan to make the area accessible and/or user-friendly. It is only Ryde Council staff that are making
real moves towards integrated design on a larger scale. Ryde Council has never had a problem meeting
its housing targets and has a proud history of contributing reasonable housing supply
stretching back to the post-war Ryde Housing Scheme. The State interventions, the UAP’s, the
Medium Density Housing Code are not required given Ryde’s responsible attitude to planning
policy. Council’s controls were delivering adequate
supply and were better in tune with available infrastructure and community expectations
regarding density and character. State land in the LGA has been developed for
high density housing. It should have been used for much needed open
space and schools. Interestingly, weeks out from a state election
we have multiple announcements involving the increase of open spaces and public amenity. A bit rich when these places have been assumed
in State-run development projects in the first place. State infrastructure required to support the
Urban Activation Precincts has not been delivered. Like open space promised on Waterloo Road
and the intersection upgrades identified in the planning and traffic reports. The developer contribution system needs overhauling. I’m going to run out of time. The State Government’s essential works definition
does not include much needed facilities such as community centre fit outs or skate parks
as essential works. I have more but I will call it quits in the
interest of brevity, but I do urge you to acknowledge that the State’s planning policies
are old, ad hoc and broken. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. I’d now like to call Saradhi Motamarri. Welcome. Hello. You’re welcome – thank you – Ms Lucy Turnbull,
Greater Sydney Commissioner and Mr Geoff Roberts giving me this opportunity to speak on this
Macquarie area development. So of course, my general observations are
applicable for your Greater Sydney Commission. So, one of the things, as a resident of Ryde
for the last 10 years I’ve seen a significant challenge on the transport and infrastructure
available in the Ryde area. So, especially, what I have seen two of the
comment at one side says that people should move to the public transport. The accessibility to the main stations in
this area like Eastwood, Epping, and even West Ryde Station are very poor. So, the important part that the planning Commission
should look into how the accessibility can be improved to these stations. Do you mean accessibility for people with
mobility problems? No, no. What I mean from my transportation engineering
perspective accessibility means how clean – if somebody can go there. For example, like look at the Macquarie Park
Station. There is no way somebody can drop you, either
you take a public transport – the morning time from Ryde Quarry Road to Macquarie Epping
Junction – anywhere – it may take half an hour, 30 minutes, there is probably like two
to three kilometres. That is the pain that we are facing and parking
at West Ryde Station is so poor. It’s not adequate. And probably the planning Commission should
consider may be a bus lane to these stations and maybe additional services from Sydney
buses to cover these stations. Another important element I want to speak
about is the fly-over. Probably at Church Street and Lane Cove Road
and Victoria Road junction is fully saturated with the current levels of traffic and is
not able to cope with the poor future development that are going to happen. So, one possibility is probably directly linking
Church Road all the way up to where is Top Ryde – that means near the Blaxland Road – that
means it will provide a straight corridor for the traffic that is moving towards south
and north, so that simplifies a lot of issues at the various grade separated – graded intersections. So, the other part I would like to say that
the public buses that are actually run in a very messy route today. A bus takes a route from Church Street goes
on to Victoria Road, comes on to the Church Street, comes to the Blaxland Road and turns
to Lane Cove Road. It is just – is a messy part and it’s creating
the whole lot of congestion in the Top Ryde area. So probably they could consider running the
buses straight from Church Street all the way to the Lane Cove Road. The other part I would see that in the Lane
Cove Road and especially in the Ryde corridors there are no bus shelters. It’s something that rains or even in the
very hot summer there is something troublesome for the people to stand and wait for the buses. And other part there is the inter-suburb connectivity
is also to be considered. The current plan is very poor. What I have seen in the Ryde area some of
the lanes which are very important corridors, they are only single-lane – Quarry Road carries
lot of traffic from the nearing roads to the Lane Cove Road and other major corridors. It is a single lane road and a lot of parking
on the roadside so that is actually reducing the capacity of the roads. So probably the commission should look into
how all these things can be addressed. And as a public interested person, and as
a transportation person, I know that currently NSW Transport is not well leveraging the amount
of data, statistics available to it and to do a better planning. I’m as an individual citizen ready to help
the Commission as well as NSW Transport if you would like to utilise my skills and ability. Thank you very much for this opportunity. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. I’d like to call Councillor Jordan Lane
from the City of Ryde. Welcome Councillor. Hi. Thank you Commissioners. Jordan Lane, I’m a City of Ryde Councillor
and lifelong local resident. And I think firstly also I’d like to acknowledge
the ladies and gentlemen who are here tonight. I think it shows a lot of the concerns that
the community has about this issue that they take the time to be here tonight to listen
to this. I guess my perspective is one as a Councillor,
somebody who deals with community complaints by and large to do with the concerns of a
growing city on a day-to-day basis. Those concerns range from public transport
as we have heard tonight, overcrowding, over-development, changing amenity in our community and of course
the general environment and how that’s impacted. What I want to bring to your attention, and
I hope that you will give some consideration to is the role that we, as a council, can
play. I think that it is very easy for councils
or any organisation to try to blame others, point the finger and absolve themselves of
responsibility but the very simple reality is that, speaking specifically about our Investigation
Area in Macquarie Park, this area was identified as a zone for growth and that happened in
2013 by the City of Ryde Council, I think, when Mr Butterworth is here tonight was actually
on Council. It was nominated as an area for that sort
of growth and since that time there has been the growth that you would expect. Increase in the amount of commercial premises
of late. An increase in residential premises and then
all the flow-on that comes from that which is to do with traffic, school populations
and the whole gamut of over-population and over-development woes. As a Council, though, we I think are missing
a critical point and that is where your role is as an over-arching body to look at the
Greater Sydney. I think that there are three fundamental parts
that we as a council are lacking in that are creating problems, not just for Macquarie
Park but for the City of Ryde, generally. The first is in relation to voluntary planning
agreements – you would be familiar with VPA’s. That is where an unsolicited offer comes from
a developer to the council with a proposal. Now these are very rarely done with a mind
for the greater Sydney. They’re generally done with the interest
of the developer at mind who can make the maximum amount of money off their site. Often they will try and offer some sort of
sweetheart deal, but it is a sweetheart deal for the developer, not the community, and
I have been extremely disappointed in the number of times that – not just this Council
– but previous councils and councils across New South Wales have fallen victim to developers
trying to sweeten the deal with a cheap shiny object or a lick of paint here or a road upgrade
there but nothing that is substantial or significant to actually accommodate the growth that they
are bringing in as a developer. So, my view is that VPA is sweetheart deals
for developers and frankly should be done away with because they do not have any broader
interconnectivity in mind with the rest of the city. The second is to do with the Local Environment
Plan and as a council we, of course, have local controls that we set and since I have
been elected I have had nothing but complaints about the current rules and it’s all well
and good to talk about future plans but the current rules as they stand are no good. They are broken. They are dated 2014. With the LEP? The LEP. It is dated 2014. That is now over four years old. My very strong view is that LEP’s should
almost be a going concern. As you produce it and you legislate it you
should almost immediately start the process of reviewing it and the reason for that is
because the amount of growth and the amount of change that is happening in our city is
just far too fast to sit on it for four or five years. I have personally tried and unsuccessfully
to commence a process of that review. It has since occurred as a consequence of
recent announcements and I think it was a two and a half million dollar grant to the
Council to get that underway. That was almost 12 months ago, and I am still
not aware of any progress having been made in that area. That is a concern to me and I think that we
can do a lot as a council in that space to tell you as a commission, our local community
and of course business and developers what sort of development we want in our area. But it has to be up to date. It’s no good applying 2014 standards to
today. And a final point that I will make is in relation
to our relationship as a council with the Department of Planning. I don’t think that it is cohesive. I don’t think that it is working and I’m
not pointing blame at either side. I think there is an unwillingness on both
ends to work collaboratively. Now whether that is because of politics, whether
that is because of differing opinions within the leadership of those organisations, or
whether it is because there’s a fundamental disagreement on where the City of Ryde should
be heading – I’m not sure – but I think as an overarching body, perhaps something
that you can consider in addition to the VPA matter and the LEP matter is how we as a council
engage with the Department. Because, frankly, if we’re not talking – we’re
not achieving – and if we’re not achieving then we’re only letting down the community. So, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. Thank you for that. Thank you. I’d like to call Jerome Laxale, Mayor of
City of Ryde, thank you. Welcome. Good evening. It’s very intimate. Yes. Yes, it is. Very intimate. There we go. Thank you for the opportunity. I’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional
owners of the land as well. Planning, over-development, Priority Precincts,
lack of consultation, determination of Development Applications at odd with community expectations,
the lack of public infrastructure. Panel, these are the topics that are consistently
raised with me as I am undertaking my responsibilities as mayor of this city. The catalyst to all these issues, Ryde’s
planning woes has been to one reason in my opinion – State Government intervention. The Assurance Review announced hastily at
the request of the Local MP is just another example of unwanted State intervention. So just to be clear, the Greater Sydney Commission
is under direction of the Premier. The Greater Sydney Commission is undertaking
a review and I quote: To understand the work of the Department of
Planning and what they have been doing in this area over the past several years. Further, this review will have a particular
focus on the Macquarie Park Investigation Area. So, to be clear, that’s a review initiated
by the State Government into what the State Government has been doing focusing on area
that has been under State Government investigation since 2016. Our community are sick of State Government
intervention and State Government reviews and now we have another – at the 11th hour
– weeks before an election reporting back after the election. And is it any wonder that people are questioning
the motivation of this Review. Today I obtained a letter by the President
of Local Government New South Wales addressed to the Greater Sydney Commission and I am
happy to read from it. And I’m quoting here. I’ve read that. We’ve read that. Well, you’ve read that. Okay. You’ve read that – so while understanding
the function of undertaking Assurance Reviews and issuing assurance reports was added to
the Greater Sydney Commission’s roles and responsibilities in late 2018. President Linda Scott she says, “I am concerned
that the Local Government New South Wales and that local government sector have not
been briefed on how the new function will be exercised. In the absence of a briefing and sector-wide
understanding the decision to subject Ryde Council to a Planning Assurance Review has
raised a number of concerns and questions. The timing and the fact that there has been
controversy over planning issues in the Ryde area has aroused suspicion of potential political
motivation and there’s also growing speculation about which council will be next.” And I would ask to the Premier, where was
this focus back in 2014 when two Priority Precincts were imposed on Ryde and Ryde was
transformed forever. Why is this review into review being forced
on our city six weeks out from an election? Because a series of State Government interventions
are why we’re here today and it will give me great pleasure to catalogue a few. I will touch on the strategic review of Macquarie
Park and that was, as I said, announced by the State Government in 2016. This review is little more than a Trojan Horse
that is aimed to lockout Macquarie Park businesses and employers and replace them with developers
and high-rise residential developments. And that’s not my opinion, at the time the
Australian newspaper wrote that the whole point of the review was adopted by the government
– “To add housing and mixed-use development to Macquarie Park.” Nearly three years on, and you’ve heard
from two developers here today who wish to add more residential into Macquarie Park,
nearly three years on and we’re still awaiting some results from this review. All it has done is lead to uncertainty and
speculation in the Precinct delaying more jobs in the Precinct and causing difficulties
in retaining employers in the business park. What’s worse is that this review comes off
the back of two State Government imposed Planned Precincts, Priority Precincts, Urban Activation
Precincts – they’ve had a few names. These Priority Precincts have promoted the
sale of State-owned land for high-rise housing development cramming an extra predicted 15,000
dwellings into our city. And these were introduced by the same government
who, on the weekend, announced that they would appoint a Minister for Public Spaces to stop
themselves from selling their own land – a quite extraordinary announcement. The example of Lachlan’s Line perfectly
illustrates poor planning and poor State intervention. Lachlan’s Line is in the North Ryde precinct,
and instead of providing much needed open space it was sold for over 2,500 dwellings
despite the fact that housing targets had been set by the State Government have been
met or well on the way to being met. The same issues apply to the Herring Road
Priority Precinct, which includes the 3,500-unit Ivanhoe Estate development. In this part of Ryde there is such a need
for more open space, for transport connections, bicycle paths, bushland and education centres
and this one in a generation chance to deliver that has once again taken a seat for profits. So instead of providing the area with the
required State infrastructure, instead of providing upgrades that would ease congestion,
instead of providing open space and public schools – public schools being the emphasis
– we are seeing State land used for high density units. Then we have the Medium Density Housing Code
if implemented which have dire consequences on the City of Ryde. We may give the Mayor another minute so – Is that okay? Yes. Yes. I’ll read quickly. Yes. We’ve long been aware of the need to provide
housing diversity and different housing options. Villas were introduced into the City of Ryde
in the same year that I was introduced into this world in 1983 and reconfirmed in 1996
with the support of a certain councillor VM Dominello, who is a current Local Member. Restrictions that have accompanied those housing
types have evolved over the years, but they have one thing in common – they restricted
the control rate of housing growth in line with community expectations. Yet again due to a deliberate and misinformed
State intervention, the medium density code in its current form will send bulldozers into
every street in Ryde. It will transform low density streets into
streets full of two-storey residential flat buildings, terrace houses and duplexes on
a miniscule 12-metre frontage at the building line, instead of Council’s current controls
of a more reasonable 20 metres. How are the outcomes of this code consistent
with community expectations? They are not. Panel, we do not need any more reviews. We do not need more State Government intervention. We need a State that is focused on delivering
the infrastructure that we need. The community needs more open space. We need more infrastructure that services
our city. We want roads connecting communities, not
going through communities, and we need less high-density units – more attention about
trees and protection of our natural environment. We need assurances that the City of Ryde’s
local character will not be completely transformed and destroyed. And that includes making the City of Ryde
permanently exempt from the medium density housing code and I ask that your recommendation
to the Premier be simple and succinct. Abolish State intervention in planning in
Ryde. Exempt Ryde completely from the Housing Code. Abolish Priority Precincts in our city and
let locals determine our city’s future. Thank you very much. I’d now like to call Victor Dominello, Member
for Ryde. Commissioners, how are you? Good, thank you. Very well. Alright. I’ll start with my background. I’m here in my capacity as both a local
resident – I live in Meadowbank. I have also lived in North Ryde for a number
of years – pretty much most of my 50 years on the planet – 51 years to be precise. But my family came here about 85 years ago,
had a market garden in North Ryde. So North Ryde is pretty much – the soil is
in my fingernails as it were – and it’s something that is very important to me this
whole Ryde area. So, I’m here in my personal capacity, but
also in the capacity as local MP that I have served for 10 years and a Councillor for nine
years. So, I think it’s fair to say I know the
area reasonably well. Now I was the one – I’m to blame for you
being here – because I was the one that called or wrote to the Premier and the Minister for
Planning asking for your intervention. Now the reason I asked for your intervention
was because I personally believe as Councillor Lane has already articulated that the relationship
between the Department of Planning and Ryde Council is – how shall I say – sub-optimal. I don’t think that we are getting the best
outcomes for the people of our great area because of the poverty in the relationship
and that’s why I think somebody needs to come over the top and put the politics aside
and put the people first because there is a lot of politics that is being played out
and we don’t need that quite frankly. I’d like to break my submission into three
areas. The first area is obviously Macquarie Park
which is essentially north of Epping Road. The second part is the – I’ll call it suburban
Ryde – essentially between Epping Road and Victoria Road and the third part is the south
of Victoria Road which is essentially Meadowbank and Melrose Park. Now in relation to Macquarie Park there has
been too much ad hoc rezoning, without any reference to a strategic master plan – that
is simply poor planning. And in fact, when the 63-storey proposal came
before the community when we first found out about it that triggered such an enormous response
that we all said, “Enough is enough. Put the politics aside. Now we need to get something done”, and
that’s quite frankly was the trigger for your intervention. So that is a classic example of ad hoc zoning
or rezoning – it can’t be done. The second part and that is the suburban part
of Ryde. I am at one with Mayor Laxale. I personally think the medium density code,
as it applies to Ryde’s LEP, would be a disaster – absolute disaster – because Ryde’s
LEP has over 50 percent of the area in Ryde zoned for medium density, which is again complete
nonsense. The most important document that the City
of Ryde could ever do, and produce is its blueprint – its LEP. That LEP is so woefully out of date and not
up to standards with current community needs. It is a disgrace and debacle. It needs to be updated and rapidly. Now my personal view is part of the problem
that we have got here is obviously the ad hoc high-rise development, but just as big
a problem that we have got is that Council has got the ability to have – if you’ve
got two homes – two beautiful old homes, knock them down, five villas. Essentially, you’re replacing four cars
with 10 cars in suburban streets where you cannot move. Now quite frankly we are meeting our housing
targets here with the high rise in Meadowbank which I’ll get to and Macquarie Park. The suburban parts of Ryde must remain intact. We really need to, pretty much, have our LEP
reflect what you see in Lane Cove and Hunters Hill, i.e. suburban areas – no more of these
villas and townhouses and like that’s got to stop. The last part is Meadowbank. If you want an example of poor planning, look
at Part 3A which was the former government’s institution, talk about no consultation with
Council – Part 3A was as it was famously tagged the Finger of Frank Sartor because he would
sign off, no reference to Council. What you saw in Meadowbank is a disgrace. There was no provision for schools. No provisions for adequate parking, roads,
et cetera. We are now spending a bomb retrofitting the
Meadowbank Education Precinct, the jobs park, open spaces. It needs – we can’t do that again. If I can just conclude with my recommendations. This I would really like the Greater Sydney
Commission to do. One, we need to the infrastructure right. As Bob Carr famously said in 2000, “Sydney
is full.” The population has rapidly increased and we
can’t continue to do what he did i.e. don’t produce infrastructure. Despite what some of the – Can I just note that we gave Mayor Laxale
another minute. So please – Despite what some of the speakers have said
about no infrastructure we’re about to open the North-West at a cost of nine billion in
May. We’re rebuying and rebuilding Peter Board
High and Primary Catholic High School and plus there’s about seven schools being built
– not demountables like under the old regime – new schools. We are building infrastructure, but the infrastructure
is barely catching up with the development. So, what I am suggesting is three things. One – a master plan that the essential freeze
on VPAs continue until a proper master plan is undertaken in relation to Macquarie Park
that has a proper infrastructure audit. Two – that the missing middle or the suburban
part – essentially has an LEP that reflects the very low density that you see in parts
of Lane Cove and Hunters Hill. And, three – that we master plan the precinct
in Meadowbank – that is the jobs park, the education precinct and now the Sydney Water
site. Those three sites can solve a lot of problems
to the challenges we currently face. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. And I believe that’s our final speaker for
this evening. I would just like to say that we will be here,
same time, same location on Thursday for the second session if you’d like to come along. If not, thank you so much for your time this
evening. Travel home safely.

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