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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release June 2004

Million Dollar Maybachs

Hi SOS Members

In a great win for the community, Pyrmont's former water police site will become a harbourside park. The City of Sydney is poised to purchase the land for $11 million dollars from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority which had intended to sell the land to developers for $30 million. This would have resulted in 100 apartments and a 13 storey building in front of existing public housing.

So high-density unit developers will miss out. Not that we need shed any tears for them. In our August 2003 newsletter we told you that the main purchasers of $600,000 Lamborghini cars are property developers. Now we are told (Sydney Morning Herald 31 May) that three of the four $1 million Mercedes Maybach cars sold in Australia have been sold to property developers. The latest is being airfreighted in at an extra cost of $50,000 because the customer does not wish to wait the six-week delivery time by ship. These two-ton 405 Kw super-luxury cars do zero to 100kmh in 5.2 seconds.

The Pyrmont win is a testament to what can be achieved when community groups cooperate. Clover Moore's ticket for the City of Sydney in the March elections included Marcelle Hoft, president of the Friends of Pyrmont Point.

TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Save Our Suburbs has been campaigning against the State government's high density policies and their unfortunate consequences - congestion, collapsing infrastructure and a degraded environment to name a few. SOS committee member Monica Wangmann has had this letter published in the Daily Telegraph referring to the subject of traffic congestion;

"The State planning minister, Craig Knowles, said that Parramatta Road traffic could reduce by up to 30% after the extension of the M4 East tunnel to Ashfield municipality.

"There is simply no evidence to suggest the traffic will reduce at all - or that it would stay reduced on a permanent basis.

"The RTA is actually proposing this road to bring more cars and trucks to our suburbs from an expanded Port Botany.

"Worse still, the M4 East is now being used to cause proposals for an additional 120,000 dwellings along Parramatta Rd between Annandale and Strathfield, under the guise of "revitalisation". These proposals are unsustainable.

"Sydney and NSW need a "whole of government" approach to public transport, infrastructure and town planning.

"Ashfield has insufficient open space, ageing infrastructure, escalating traffic congestion, crime and pollution.

"The RTA's M4 East options will bring MORE private cars, noise and pollution and LESS residential amenity. Enough is enough.

Councillor Monica Wangmann, Ashfield"


The State Planning Department, DIPNR, maintain the fiction that high density reduces traffic congestion as people then will be able to use public transport instead of cars. But just consider another letter in the Telegraph:

"Vertical Village has downside
"Singapore developer Stanley Quek is doing more than putting 447 residential units and 140 serviced apartments on the Regent Theatre site in George Street ("Vertical villages banish eyesores," Daily Telegraph, May 31).

"He is also putting 599 car parking spaces on a site with all of the city's trains and half of its buses at the front door.

"Many occupants will not need a car space and so will rent theirs to suburbanites who will be encouraged to drive to the CBD.

"The number of parking spaces should be at least halved.

Allan Miles, Stanmore"

Allan's observation about car spaces is spot on but his interpretation is not entirely correct. Even with access to public transport, for many journeys (80% of which are not work related) public transport is just too inconvenient for all sorts of reasons. So if the developer does not include parking spaces, the units just do not sell. That is why all the high density developments the government is forcing onto the community around railway stations have parking spaces. While a greater proportion of the people living in these units may use public transport, this is more than outweighed by the larger number of people now in the area who still have to use their cars. So congestion becomes worse.

SOS POLICIES

Save Our Suburbs maintains there are two related broad policy alternatives to high density.

The first string to this bow is to limit immigration. This is a Commonwealth matter and is advocated by a nationwide organization, SPA (Sustainable Population Australia Inc).

The second string, of more immediate applicability in NSW, is to find other alternatives to high density. One is to house the increasing population in places other than Sydney. Today (2 June) I had a letter published in the Australian Financial Review on this subject:

"Add a city too

"If it is considered feasible to place a second Sydney airport near Sutton Forest, two thirds along the way to Goulburn, why should a satellite city placed in that vicinity not be viable? Road and rail facilities that can cope with such an airport could handle the transport requirements to Sydney of a 200,000 people city.

"If we have to accommodate an increasing population, it is far more cost-effective and sensible to build new environmentally friendly cities in optimal locations than Bob Carr’s plan of implanting seven high-density canyons of high-rise flats and shoulder-to-shoulder townhouses into Sydney’s heart. Designs that might work stand-alone will be catastrophic when plunged into the confines of a city of 4 million people.

"It is better to create anew rather than transplant bits and pieces into the old. New satellite cities gain the advantages of manageable scale.

Tony Recsei
Warrawee"

Save Our Suburbs policies have been to insist that the Commonwealth Government must take some responsibility and that It cannot just assume that the States can forever shoehorn all new arrivals into existing communities. This will make the Commonwealth more sensitive to the consequences of its immigration policies.

The Commonwealth is now starting to consider its responsibilities. Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone has announced a scheme to direct 10,000 skilled migrants into regional areas. In addition the Australian Financial Review (1 June 2004) reports that the New South Wales Government is trying to get the Federal Government to restrict the flow of migrant workers into the Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong region.

Save Our Suburbs policies also advocate that the Commonwealth should provide funds to cater for the necessary infrastructure and employment required to promote acceptable decentralized development across the nation. It should also provide workable incentives such as income tax concessions for those who set up a business or work in these areas.

Tony Recsei
President
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)


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