Alex's Update Issue 240

Monday 30 October 2017

Sirius Heritage Failure, Regulate Short Term Letting, Waiting for Edgecliff, Transport 2056 & Young Achiever Awards

Sirius Heritage Failure

The heritage minister’s appalling decision not to list Sirius on the State Heritage Register shows the heritage system is broken and that this government has no regard for Sydney’s cultural history.

The Land and Environment Court ruled that ignoring expert advice and refusing to list a rare example of Sydney’s brutalist architecture just to get a higher price on the building’s sale is not lawful. Sirius was recommended for protection by the Heritage Council, the National Trust and the Australian Institute of Architects, and is one of 25 sites worldwide included on the World Monuments Fund 2018 watch list.

It’s obvious that the minister’s decision to ignore the evidence of Sirius’s importance was motivated by a wish to sell the building to a developer at a higher price. The government should put the social heritage hopes of heritage experts, architects, courts, environmental defenders, social housing tenants and the wider NSW communities ahead of yet another public asset flog-off.

The inner city has lost another community asset and social housing built to replace homes lost in The Rocks, completing the ‘social cleansing’ of the area. Ironically the two remaining tenants are now being relocated.

Regulate Short Term Letting

The rapid growth in short term accommodation in residential areas is changing neighbourhoods in tourist areas and the government must introduce regulations to make the industry sustainable and prevent problems. Short term letting has already completely removed one per cent of inner Sydney’s housing stock and 3.3 per cent of the rental stock at a time of a housing affordability crisis.

Different types of short term letting have different impacts and my submission on the government’s options paper argued that homes should not be wholly turned into holiday accommodation. People should be able to rent out a spare room in their home if they are present as a host and caps are needed to limit how often people can let their homes out when they are away.

I again called for owner corporations to be given the power to control short term letting in their building including to ban or limit the practice. Apartments are democracies and all owners should have a say on how their building and common property is used. This supports a mounting campaign from strata communities that was presented at a forum I hosted last week for the Owners Corporation Network. A strata committee group will write to the Premier to put forward this approach and wants other committees to co-sign. If your building supports this model, email sthl@highgate.com.au. My submission is HERE.

Waiting for Edgecliff

I continue to press for early upgrade of Edgecliff’s railway station and bus interchange.  The latest update has construction starting early 2018, work staged so that the lift to the bus interchange will be available in early 2019 and the lift to the station platforms in mid-2019. My latest questions, HERE.

Transport 2056

Future Transport 2056 shows the government’s transport plans, with 300 new projects over the next 40 years and built on Greater Sydney Commission planning. It includes a Road Space Allocation Policy giving priority to freight, or to buses and walking in busy commercial centres; a Movement and Place Framework to balance transport and liveability; a new parking framework linked to public transport; new freight policy and an aim for 30 minute public transport access to your nearest centre. Unfortunately, the vision is largely motorways and tunnels, but it also includes more train services on some lines. You can comment on the draft plan, priorities and projects by 3 December, HERE

Young Achiever Awards

Do you know a young person up to 29 years of age whose positive achievements deserve to be recognised? You could nominate them for public recognition, trophy and prize by 8 December HERE.