Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Influencing Development on The Pyrmont Peninsula

One of the last disputes about redevelopment on the Pyrmont peninsula was when the water police closed their headquarters at Elizabeth Macarthur Bay. This was prime real estate land and developers were keen to build luxury units on it. For many of the residents the opportunity of open parkland for recreation and harbour views for all to enjoy was an enticing option.

The local community, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the Sydney City Council were all involved in the decision to create an open parkland zone with public access on the former water police site. The proposal outlined in the newspaper article did not go ahead. Individuals and groups were able to influence the decision-making processes through protests, lobbying of political representatives and petitions to parliament. A resident action group called the Friends of Pyrmont coordinated it. The construction union also imposed a ‘green ban’ on the redevelopment of the site. This would have prevented workers of unions from working on developing the site. As a result of this pressure, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Sydney City Council and the state government reached an agreement in June 2005. This allowed the City of Sydney Council to purchase the site from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority for $11 million. It was a win for the power of people and the local community over the financial gains from development—it was potentially worth $30 million had developers been allowed to build on the site.