by Janet Wahlquist, President, The Glebe Society, from Bulletin 2/2021, April 2021.
It was with some surprise and also joy that we learned from the Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, of his plan for White Bay, which also including a plan to open the Glebe Island Bridge to pedestrians and cyclists.
At this stage the Strategy sets out a broad vision for what is proposed. One of its focal points is the retention and repurposing of the White Bay Power Station. It also sets out a broad plan for the development of the White Bay Peninsula.
The Strategy sets out five areas to be addressed:
- Land Use and Function
- Design of Places and Spaces
- Transport and Movement
- Heritage and Culture
- Infrastructure Delivery and Governance
The restoration of the Glebe Island Bridge falls within both Transport and Movement and Heritage and Culture.
The Strategy sets out six Big Moves:
Big Move 1: Repurpose White Bay Power Station to become a focal point of the precinct.
Big Move 2: Make a crossing from Bays West to Pyrmont to create more convenient and direct active transport connections.
Big Move 3: Connect community to water, while recognising and supporting the working harbour and port operational requirements.
Big Move 4: Deliver a significant, connected, activated public open space near the water at an early stage.
Big Move 5: Make the most of the opportunity that a new Metro Station presents to renew the precinct and surrounds through development that has a strong dependence on public and active transport.
Big Move 6: Enable a world class harbour foreshore walk.
Key points of the Strategy are the proposed use of the land and design:
- Deliver diverse employment spaces that can support knowledge intensive industries which are a key contributor to the success of the innovation corridor.
- Deliver a range of housing, including affordable housing, to support the jobs created in the precinct and the ongoing growth of the Eastern Harbour City and metropolitan Sydney.
- Retain, manage and allow the essential strategic port and maritime industry uses to grow and evolve to ensure they continue to support the NSW economy.
In discussing the proposed design, the Strategy states:
- A key focus of the precinct is the design of open space and social infrastructure, ensuring careful integration with the natural, industrial, maritime and cultural heritage.
- Promote design excellence and embed a people-focused approach to deliver high quality and diverse built form and amenity outcomes.
- Promote biodiversity and improve water quality in the harbour whilst restoring and expanding the green and blue natural systems.
- Deliver a world class sustainable precinct which is carbon neutral and delivers efficient management of energy and water, and the elimination of waste.
Two of the main issues the Glebe Society has been campaigning for is the restoration of the Glebe Island Bridge (Big Move 2) and the creation of a Foreshore Walk (Big Move 6). The map gives some idea of what is envisioned.
Pedestrian Link over Rozelle Bay
We were very pleased to see a proposal to link Glebe Point with Rozelle Bay near Victoria Rd by a pedestrian bridge creating another attractive pedestrian and active transport route. It suggests that finally some importance is given to the community need for open space and walking and cycling options. We’re not sure what is proposed regarding the current boat use of the area west of the proposed walkway. Presently that area houses the Heritage Fleet workshop, a catamaran rental business, the Superyacht marina and a boat storage facility.
The Strategy is that the development of White Bay will take place in stages. The first stage centres around the opening of the Metro Station and repurposing of the Power Station which is to be completed by 2030. It is also envisioned that the Glebe Island Bridge would be restored and ready for use by 2030. The larger plan is intended to be complete by 2040. As to whether the Rozelle Bay walk will be completed within this time frame is unclear. The pedestrian bridge across Rozelle Bay is proposed for 2040.