Author Archives: garyspeechley

Music Festival to protest destruction of Sydney Park for WasteCONnex tollway

This post is sourced from http://www.westconnexactiongroup.org.au/music_festival_protest_destruction_sydney_park_westconnex_tollway to inform members and friends of the Alexandria Residents’ Action Group.

THOUSANDS of people will flock to St Peters on the October Long Weekend to protest the destruction of Sydney Park and support the anti-WestConnex blockade.

The Save Sydney Park Festival is being organised by Reclaim The Streets (RTS) and WestCONnex Action Group (WAG), and will feature multiple stages. Local acts will play everything from Chicago house to UK garage, hip hop, jungle, and drum and bass.

The family-friendly festival will be held on the Euston Road side of Sydney Park, which residents have occupied around the clock since 19 September to prevent the destruction of hundreds of trees for WestConnex. It will start at 1pm on Saturday 1 October and end at sunset.

“Where we see a park, Casino Mike sees an opportunity to sell us out,” said RTS spokesperson James Loch.

“The Baird government cares only for the profits of their major donors, but we care about every inch of our precious green space.

“If money grew on trees, you can bet they wouldn’t be cutting them down in Sydney Park.

“We will not let them trade in our beautiful park for their dirty toll road,” said Mr Loch.

“If Mike Baird gets his way, over 14,000 square metres of Sydney Park and hundreds of trees in it will be destroyed for WestConnex,” said WAG spokesperson Janet Dandy-Ward.

“They’re planning to ‘replace’ these devastating losses with what may be the world’s worst park: some ‘green space’ under the massive flyovers and unfiltered pollution stacks of the monstrous St Peters Interchange.

“The community has had enough of Mike Baird selling us out to his toll road mates, and we’re delighted to team up with Reclaim the Streets again to help stop WestConnex,” said Ms Dandy-Ward.

Contacts: James Loch 0403 601 511, Amanda Sordes 0479 101 272

Poster artwork available on request. Facebook event page: bit.ly/savesydparkfest

Reclaim The Streets has a long history of large, colourful protest festivals. View photos of previous events on Facebook at bit.ly/rtsalbum1, bit.ly/rtsalbum2, bit.ly/rtsalbum3 and bit.ly/rtsalbum4

Save Sydney Park Festival poster

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Confirming the future of “The Alex”

This message was today received from the City of Sydney:
28-Sep-2016

SITE: 35 HENDERSON ROAD , EVELEIGH  NSW  2015, 39 HENDERSON ROAD , EVELEIGH NSW  2015, 33 GARDEN STREET , EVELEIGH  NSW  2015, 31 GARDEN STREET , EVELEIGH NSW  2015

PROPOSAL: PROPOSED MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT ADJACENT TO AND WITHIN THE ALEXANDRIA HOTEL SITE. PROPOSAL INCLUDES RETAINING THE HOTEL USE FOR THE ALEXANDRIA HOTEL, INCLUDING A COURTYARD ADJACENT HENDERSON ROAD. AT THE REAR OF THE HOTEL, A 7 STOREY RESIDENTIAL FLAT BUILDING IS PROPOSED CONSISTING OF 26 UNITS, A GROUND FLOOR COMMERCIAL PREMISES FRONTING GARDEN STREET AND A COMMUNAL ROOFTOP TERRACE. SUBDIVISION OF CURRENT 4 LOTS INTO 2 LOTS IS ALSO PROPOSED.

DA NO:                      D/2016/374

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Dear Sir/Madam

I refer to your submission about the above application and wish to inform you that this application has subsequently been withdrawn by the applicant.

If you would like to speak directly to a Council planning officer about this decision, you can contact Jarrad Sheather on ph. 02 9246 7593, or by email at jsheather@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

Yours faithfully

BILL MACKAY

Manager – Planning Assessment

The Alex has been SAVED!!!

In astonishing news released today, it has been announced that plans to re-develop the Alexandria Hotel site have been scrapped.

The developers have walked away – tails between their legs – after selling the site to the Merivale group who plan to renovate the Alex and re-open it as a pub.

This is an ASTOUNDING victory for the residents of Alexandria who rallied, repeatedly, to save the Alex. The drive of people such as Ben and Michelle and countless other Alexandria residents shows that communities can achieve strong outcomes.

The drive and persistence shown by all has been memorable.

It could have been too easy to lie down after the first development proposal was rejected, and say “job done”. But developers are persistent beasts.

To rally again to reject the seven-storey proposal provided proof that Alexandrians are prepared to fight, HARD, for what they believe in.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group congratulates you all for your success today.

It’s an Alexandria “Castle” moment – and we hope one of many more to come.

Developers were clearly shown how the “vibe” of Alexandria works!

The community has had success in changing development outcomes, including the changed design of the Mitchell Road Auction Centre site, but winning against a consortium of Property Unit Trust investors to save the Alex is huge.

Merivale have created a website where we, as residents, are invited to contribute ideas and energy to the renovation of the Alex. Sign up here to get involved.

The Merivale press release document is here: Merivale saves The Alex.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group also would like to thank the staff of the City of Sydney who were able to secure an interim Heritage Order on the Alex and who engaged a legal team to include us, the residents, at the Land and Environment Court.

The fact that the legal team engaged us as residents and worked with us to have our objections and ideas reformulated to maximise our impact before the L&E Court is greatly appreciated, but also recognises that objections from communities like ours cannot be merely brushed aside as if coming from an anti-development ratbag fringe.

In other news, the pop-up kitchens that were announced last week have been dropped.

Council Elections: Candidates’ Forum – Wednesday 10th August

The City of Sydney Council Elections are to be held in September.

Wednesday 10th August is ARAG’s regular monthly meeting and once again we are teaming with REDwatch, Friends of Erskineville and Chippendale Residents’ Interest Group to host another Candidates’ Forum.

Be at the Alexandria Town Hall in Garden Street to hear the candidates speak on issues relevant to Alexandria, and to ask your questions. Be informed before you vote. ARAG is not aligned politically – we host these events to inform our residents.

REDwatch, ARAG, FoE and CRIG have agreed two questions of concern to residents that each candidate must address in their presentation before speaking to other issues.

The first question is their attitude to WestConnex; the second relates to business voting in the City of Sydney.

The confirmed speakers at this time are:

  • Clover Moore, Lord Mayor
  • Linda Scott, CoSC Councillor – Labor
  • Angela Vithoulkas, CoSC Councillor – Sydney Matters
  • Lindsay Johnston, Greens Candidate

We believe that Liberal candidate Christine Forster will send a member of her group to speak on her behalf.

We’d welcome your interest and attendance on Wednesday 10th August at Alexandria Town Hall from 7 pm sharp.

Visit here for more information.

Alexandria Hotel – another reprieve

Today, 4th August 2016 an on-site meeting of the Land and Environment Court was scheduled to hear residents’ objections in relation to the proposed seven-storey development for the beer garden of the Alexandria Hotel.

This latest tilt at windmills by the proponents aims to retain the hotel and the small beer garden on the western edge and to subdivide the land into two lots – one for the pub and the other for a seven-storey residential tower fronting Garden Street in the east, and a wider frontage to Vice Chancellors Oval to the west.

There has been a couple of simple problems to this development all along.

The Alexandria Hotel was being assessed for an interim Heritage Order – since granted by the City of Sydney. The proponents’ first development application was to raze the entire site.

The second problem is quite fundamental – the beer garden is on the easement of the Illawarra Railway Line. Twin tunnels run from Redfern Station (platforms 11 and 12) under the hotel beer garden and surface near Erskineville Station.

These railway tunnels pass just three metres below the beer garden – barely ten feet.

Transport for NSW has been quiet on the issue of building over their easement – until today. It is believed that approvals had been hinted at to the proponents, subject to certain conditions.

However, today TfNSW has sought to join the court proceedings as an interested party (what took them so long!!??) and the outcome of discussions with the proponents is uncertain.

Will TfNSW allow development over their easement and if so, what conditions, if any, will be imposed? Will TfNSW deny building on their easement? Will applications be sought (probably to the NSW Supreme Court) to have the easement amended in some way to allow a building to proceed?

All of this still does not address how one would go about building a three-, four- or even seven-storey building over the railway tunnels, on what is basically sandy soils.

In what we believe to be a first, thanks to the on-going actions of Alexandria residents, this is the first time that the Land and Environment Court has met on a site twice, and on both occasions had the proceeding adjourned.

Well done one and all!!

To celebrate – well, more coincidence really – Broadsheet Sydney is planning a pop-up kitchen to be run from the Alex during September and October.

Further details can be found at their website here where you can subscribe to their newsletter. To quote their website:

Next month we’re opening a huge outdoor bar and kitchen in Alexandria, with a menu by your favourite restaurants and bars.

We’ve always thought Sydney’s restaurants and bars were something to celebrate. Now, we’re working with them to take that celebration off the screen and into the city.

For two months this spring, Broadsheet is unveiling a new kind of outdoor dining experience, with help from Sydney’s most exciting chefs, bartenders and creatives.

Running from day into night on weekends in September and October, the Broadsheet Open-Air Kitchen will transform the legendary Alexandria Hotel.

A host of your favourite restaurants are creating new dishes they’ve never served before, and drinks will be curated by some of our favourite bartenders.

Broadsheet‘s team of collaborators is working to showcase the best of Sydney in one place, and from the music to the setting we’ll make sure there are a few surprises.

The ‘westCONnex Payment Plan’

Just how much money is involved in paying for westCONnex?

The original business case for westCONnex stated a project cost of $10 billion.

An updated business case for westCONnex was released in November 2015.

So now, the stated project cost for westCONnex is $16.812 billion. That’s a massive cost blowout of 68.12%, and that’s before any project milestones have been achieved.

Expect the cost to blow out much further during the course of the project.

But how much, really, is $16.812 billion? Continue reading

ARAG’s Objection to the westCONnex ‘New M5’ EIS

ARAG today submitted its objection to the westCONnex ‘New M5’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Submissions to the Planning Department in relation to this debacle of a project – $16.812 BILLION of your taxpayer dollars – close today.

ARAG’s PDF submission is enclosed here for you to download here: ARAG Submission – westCONnex M5 EIS.

Here’s hoping that somebody is listening.

If you’re quick, you can still submit your own objection. Feel free to copy / adapt from the information here, or visit A People’s M5 EIS on the embedded link.

Both our site and the M5EIS.org site contain links to direct you to the Department of Planning’s submission portal.