Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Darlinghurst Blog: Detritus: News

After a big community push to save Fitzroy Gardens from the bulldozer's path, the City of Sydney Council caved into pressure, announcing at their meeting on Monday night that plans to demolish the gardens in Kings Cross were no longer on the agenda.
''Overwhelmingly our most recent feedback shows the local community is divided on what should happen,'' Mayor Clover Moore said in a press release yesterday.
''Half do not want any changes to the park, while the other half either support only minimal changes or all changes proposed in the 2010 draft concept plans.
''I'm a passionate believer in listening and working with local communities to get the best outcomes for an area.
''While support for the park's makeover was strong a year or two ago - it's clear that has now waned.
''I believe the best way forward is to preserve the park - to keep it just they way it is with only some vital heritage and maintenance work undertaken.''

I'm so happy that Ms Moore finally listened to what was actually the majority of residents, who were opposed to the $9 million redevelopment of the site. If you want to learn about the history of the site and the establishment of the gardens in 1971, visit my post here.
Later this year, the ''vital heritage and maintenance work'' will begin and will include restoration works on the El Alamein Fountain, improved seating and lighting, playground upgrades, painting of the Kings Cross police station and new shrubs and ''floral displays''.

Maybe the change from the $9 million can now go to helping the people in our community who are most in need, such as the men and women who frequent the Wayside Chapel, those who have become homeless and those suffering from mental illness. I don't normally preach like this, but $9 million seemed like such a waste to spend on a redevelopment that would have not only destroyed a part of the area's history, but was not wanted or needed by the majority of the community.

In other City of Sydney council related news . . . a new, amended development application for the dunny-lane house in Caldwell Street has been submitted to the council. The height of the building has been reduced to two stories plus attic and there are some other minor design revisions, which can be viewed at the council's website here.

There has been quite a bit of opposition to the proposed dunny-lane development at 40A Caldwell Street and if you are new to this story, you can read the background on my blog here. Most of the opposition comes from the owners of three terrace houses on Surrey Street that back on to the tiny site, which was purchased by Federal Court Judge Dennis Cowdroy for just $1. Justice Cowdroy also owns the neighbouring Caldwell Street terrace at 40 Caldwell Street.
The story behind the $1 title transfer was covered by The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald, and those opposed to the plans have pasted-up tear sheets from the newspapers to a wall near the proposed site.

The protesters also hung this large banner (below) across one side of a terrace house, which prompted the City of Sydney council to threaten legal action against the owner of the terrace for not submitting a development application for the banner. What nonsense.

Also nonsensical is the fact that there are only two days left to respond to the new, amended development application. This short response period also makes me rather suspicious of the council's motives, as I had no idea there was even a new DA until late last week, and I am rather nosy about these kinds of things.
Last time around, 59 people wrote to the council stating their opposition to the plans. Some of that group have also set up a blog where you can read the latest developments of the proposed development.


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