Wednesday, 29 March 2017 12:25

Commissioning a greater Sydney

Map of Greater Sydney Commission Districts. Map of Greater Sydney Commission Districts. WSROC 2016

The end of March signals the end of consultation on the Greater Sydney Commission’s draft District Plans, and hopefully, a step towards a more holistic approach to planning Greater Sydney.

WSROC commends the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) on its work bringing together the draft Plans. However, more work is needed to ensure the final version of the District Plans provide adequate strategic direction and sufficient detail to guide and support planning at the local level.


Some of the broad issues addressed by the WSROC submission include:

The three cities – an opportunity and a risk for Western Sydney

The GSC’s three cities concept has highlighted the importance and relevance of Western Sydney to our city’s future. The model is exciting in its promise to increase planning and investment focus beyond our Eastern CBD, however we must ensure that the three cities model does not come at the cost of investing in our established centres, many of which have been waiting for appropriate levels of public infrastructure investment for decades.

For example, providing fast, strong transport connections between the three cities is critical, but ensuring our existing communities have access to their local community centres, employment, recreational and cultural facilities, employment and other opportunities is equally important, if not more so.


From vision to implementation

Many of the actions proposed in the draft District Plans are undoubtedly needed, however detail on implementation, particularly regarding priorities and timeframes, is currently lacking.

Local government will be looking for clarity around responsibility and resourcing in the final iteration of the Plans.


Support for local government

The Greater Sydney Commission has said that local government has a significant role to play in bringing its vision to life. As such WSROC would like to see greater acknowledgment of local government’s role as place manager and strengthen its role in the co-design of precincts and related infrastructure programs.

As plans for our city progress, greater consultation with, and support for local government will be needed and the role of the collective voice of local government at the regional and sub-regional levels becomes more important.


Measuring success

The GSC’s framework of productivity, liveability and sustainability demonstrates a real commitment to building a more liveable city.  However there is work to be done in determining how these values will be measured and evaluated. Without clear criteria or benchmarks for these broad values, it will be difficult for councils to consistently apply and effectively enforce these values in real-world planning proposals.

Planning for a city as complex and diverse as Sydney will never be easy, and we look forward to working with the Greater Sydney Commission as they progress towards developing their final planning blueprint.


Strategies for regional issues

The draft District Plans identify the need to prepare a local housing strategy as part of its plan to address housing affordability – one of our city’s most pressing issues.

Having a strong, strategic framework is essential for addressing complex challenges. WSROC believes that similar strategies should be developed for other challenges such as regional employment, infrastructure, preventative health and urban heat – issues which are critical to the region’s productivity, liveability and sustainability.


Liveability is more than affordability

Affordable housing is undoubtedly one of the most critical issues for our city and WSROC appreciates the significant focus the draft Plans give to this liveability measure. However, other aspects of liveability such as healthy environments, cultural investment, recreation, and access to education must be explored further in the final iteration of the District Plans.


Corridor preservation

The rapid rate of development in Western Sydney means that opportunities to preserve future transport and infrastructure corridors are quickly slipping away. Working with local government to lock in these critical routes should be top priority.


Regional waste planning

As a service largely managed by local government and the private sector, waste is often underrepresented in state-level planning. The WSROC managed, Western Sydney Regional Waste Strategy has identified key gaps in the provision of waste processing infrastructure such as recycling centres, landfills and organics processing centres in the Greater Sydney Basin.

Sydney’s booming population, encroachment of housing on appropriate lands and rapidly shrinking landfill space means planning for future waste infrastructure is critical. Failure to plan for this essential service will result in costs to councils and their communities as waste is transported to processing locations outside the Sydney basin.


Planning for a city as complex and dynamic as Sydney will never be easy.  It can only be achieved through ongoing collaboration and WSROC looks forward to working with the Greater Sydney Commission as they progress towards developing their final blueprint for Greater Sydney.


Last modified on Friday, 31 March 2017 16:21