'Double whammy' for Arncliffe and Banksia residents under Bayside West Precincts plans

Urban oasis: Artist's impression of an enhanced Wooroona Reserve at Arncliffe East, surrounded by new apartment blocks.  Picture: supplied

Urban oasis: Artist's impression of an enhanced Wooroona Reserve at Arncliffe East, surrounded by new apartment blocks. Picture: supplied

The release of maps showing which areas of Arncliffe and Banksia are proposed for rezoning will remove uncertainty for some residents.

However, Bernie Sharah, the convener of community group Rockdale Residents Unite, found that to be of little consolation in the plans announced this week for 10,000 new homes for the area.

He said existing residents would experience a “double whammy” with the loss of a major greenspace area and an enormous increase in population.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced on Sunday development would take place over the next 20 years, with potential for 4100 new dwellings at Arncliffe and 1000 at Banksia.

In addition, 5000 new apartments are proposed for adjoining Cooks Cove.

Mr Sharah said, “I don’t want to be bleak, but I can’t see much that is positive”.

“We are losing 35 hectares of greenspace [Barton Park] for the Cooks Cove project and getting an enormous increase in population.

“What we need is more greenspace, not less.

“There will be a lot of negative impacts, including traffic congestion.

“We have seen what Wolli Creek is like – a permanent construction zone and a traffic nightmare.”

Mr Sharah said there would also be a loss of community feeling.

“High-rise creates fairly anonymous spaces, with very little community interaction,” he said.

“Another aspect will be the loss of heritage that will occur as the area changes.”

Mr Sharah said said residents in high rise zones, who wished to remain in their homes, would continue to live with the uncertainty that their neighbours could sell to developers.

EARLIER STORY

Arncliffe and Banksia are to be redeveloped with more than 5000 new homes, mostly high rise apartments, with sections of the Princes Highway “transformed into tree-lined boulevards”.

Arncliffe centre: Artist's impression of the Firth Street shopping strip, next to the railway station, under the proposed zoning changes. Picture: supplied

Arncliffe centre: Artist's impression of the Firth Street shopping strip, next to the railway station, under the proposed zoning changes. Picture: supplied

Draft plans have been released for the Bayside West Precincts, including Cooks Cove, where a proposal for 5000 homes was announced earlier this month.

The combined total of 10,000 homes in the three precincts will make it one of Sydney’s biggest new housing areas.

Exhibition of the draft plans for public comment comes two years after Arncliffe and Banksia were declared priority precincts for urban renewal.

Areas to be rezoned.

Areas to be rezoned.

​Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the development would take place over the next 20 years, with potential for 4100 new dwellings at Arncliffe and 1000 at Banksia.

Up to 5000 new dwellings were being investigated at Cooks Cove, he said. 

Included in the “vision” are new shops and businesses to create 4400 extra jobs and new community facilities, including pedestrian-cycle paths and greenspace.

Mr Stokes said sections of the Princes Highway would be “transformed into tree-lined boulevards”.

The state government would provide up to $10 million for community infrastructure, he said.

High density residential and mixed use development will be concentrated at Arncliffe, on both sides of the railway line between West Botany Street and Wollongong Road.

The rezoning of these areas has been declared a priority.

Banksia town centre, adjoining the station, will be “expanded and revitalised”, which would include developments next to the station with shops below and apartments above.

However, unlike Arncliffe, Banksia will not have large pockets of high-rise.

The eastern side of Banksia station is designated for employment, and the western side for medium density low-rise homes.

Cooks Cove is marked “subject to further investigation”, but a new school is included in diagrams.

The government will investigate imposing a levy on developers to contribute to upgrading infrastructure.

Mr Stokes encouraged members of the community to view the draft plans and give their feedback to help shape the final vision for the area.

“The draft plans show how good planning can make people’s lives better as suburbs grow and change into the future,” he said.

Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard said the draft plans allowed for the rejuvenation of the Land and Housing Corporation site in Eden Street at Arncliffe.

Mr Hazzard said the site would accommodate a mix of new private and affordable housing, boosting social housing by 30 per cent from 142 to 184 homes.

“We have tired old estates and we are redeveloping them, at no cost to taxpayers, to make brand new homes and brand new opportunities for our tenants,” he said.

Bayside Council administrator Greg Wright welcomed the draft plans as the next step in realising the former Rockdale Council’s vision when it nominated the areas for urban renewal. 

“I am pleased this project will deliver improved pedestrian and cycle connections,” he said.

The Department of Planning and Environment will hold community drop-in sessions on the draft plans, and conduct an online survey. The department will finalise the plans once feedback has been considered.

The plans will be on exhibition until February 10. Visit: planning.nsw.gov.au/baysidewest

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