Public Spaces Ideas Competition

In July the NSW State Government announced The Public Space Ideas Competition. The competition was prompted by one of Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s 14 Premier’s Priorities, Greener Public Spaces. It aims to increase the proportion of urban homes within a 10-minute walk of quality green, open and public space by 10 per cent by 2023. It is backed by the Committee for Sydney and the NSW Government.

The competition was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the importance of public spaces in supporting mental, physical and social wellbeing. It called for ideas to reimagine, inspire, create, include and bring awareness to great public spaces across Greater Sydney across five categories including Best Public Facility Idea, Best Open Space Idea and Best Resilient Public Space Idea. Entries were limited to 250 words, with one image.

There will be nine awards, including a people’s choice award. They will be announced in October. I entered in the Best Open Space Category. The Idea is to create a public walk around the foreshores of Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays.

Asa Wahlquist’s entry for the Best Open Space Idea award of the NSW government’s Public Space Ideas Competition
Asa Wahlquist’s entry for the Best Open Space Idea award of the NSW government’s Public Space Ideas Competition (photo: Asa Wahlquivst)

The proposed walk follows the dotted line, connecting both ends of the existing Glebe Foreshore Walk.

The Glebe Foreshore walk is extremely popular. The COVID-19 pandemic put it and the nearby Iron Cove Bay Run, under huge pressure.  There is clearly an overwhelming demand for open spaces, especially by the water, to exercise. Extending the Foreshore walk around Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays and over the restored Glebe Island Bridge would provide an invigorating walkway for the local community, many of whom live in apartments.

The NSW Government, under the Revitalising Blackwattle Bay plan, proposes to build a foreshore walk on the northern side of Blackwattle Bay. But work needs to be done on the Rozelle Bay side. Pedestrians can walk along James Craig Drive, past some waterfront businesses, then along the waterfront in front of the Superyacht Marina. Then the walker must go away from the water along Maritime Court to the locked-off Glebe Island Bridge.

While it would not be possible to walk along the waterfront in front of all the businesses, the path could certainly be improved, made pedestrian-friendly and routed nearer the water. Currently the keen pedestrian must then walk a steep and circuitous path up to the Anzac Bridge, walk along the noisy, narrow bridge footpath, and then wend their way down again, dodging bicycles all the way.  Restoring the old bridge would provide a shorter, safer walk, one closer to the Bay and one that could be negotiated with children and by wheelchair.

It would transform the experience of the Bays and be embraced by locals and visitors.

Article by Asa Wahlquist, from The Glebe Society Bulletin, October 2020, and also published on The Glebe Society website.

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