WITH hardly any time to spare, Parramatta Council submitted its CBD planning proposal to the State Government before going into caretaker mode ahead of the September 4 local government election.
The proposal, eight years in the making, sets the building codes and planning strategies for Sydney’s second CBD and the State Government was getting antsy over the time council was taking in submitting the code for ratification.
It was concerns from Greens councillor Phil Bradley, Labor councillors except Pierre Esber and independent Andrew Wilson that had the strategy going backwards and forwards over the past few years.
After a series of workshops and chamber discussions, Cr Bradley made a last-ditch attempt to have the matter deferred until there was “more careful consideration due to many complex issues”, namely excessive building heights that would overshadow much of the CBD.
Cr Bradley said he was guided by residents’ concerns rather than the interests of “wealthy land owners and developers.”
“I am also guided by the Local Government Act’s decision making principles: to recognise diverse local community needs and interests; to consider social justice principles; to consider the long-term and cumulative effects of actions on future generations; to consider the principles of ecologically sustainable development; and to be transparent in decision making,” Cr Bradley said at the recent council meeting where councillors 8 to 5 passed the CBD PP.
Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer said it was about time as developers were tired of cooling their heels before the plan was ratified and passed onto the government.
“Council had only until the end of July to table the plan with the State Government who were growing impatient,” Cr Dwyer told the Times.
“Present councillors have had four years to get this right – but it goes back eight years. We are talking about Sydney’s second CBD, not Blacktown or Liverpool.
“Councillors are elected by the people to make these decisions in the best interests of the city.”
Cr Dwyer did not see overshadowing in the CBD as a problem as he was confident that developers would exercise “best design principles” to make the city centre work for all.
Cr Esber, the most pro-development Labor councillor, said the eight year evolution of the CBD plan was “causing great uncertainty” in the business community.
“It has gone on long enough. Councillors in this council have had four years to raise issues. Our senior staff have put a lot of work into this and we just have to get on with it now,” Cr Esber said.
IMAGE: Drone view of Parramatta CBD.