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 Who’s who in Waterloo – April 7, 2017

Land and Housing Corporation’s (LAHC) Communities Plus will kick off the Master Planning exercise probably now in May. This will create many opportunities for people to comment on aspects of the Masterplan. This is on top of the usual activity, projects and events that happen around the Waterloo estate.

The City of Sydney and the Department of Planning are finalising the studies required as part of declaring the Waterloo Estate a State Significant Precinct. The details of the studies will be released when the site is declared. REDWatch has requested the opportunity for community input into the briefs issued to consultants working on the Waterloo redevelopment studies and we have been told this will happen. Hopefully this provides some possibility of ensuring community concerns and issues will be covered in the underlying studies.

The Waterloo Neighbourhood Advisory Board (NAB) has set up a Waterloo Redevelopment Group under its NAB structure. This group is independently chaired and includes NAB reps, public tenants, representatives from local resident groups and service providers. It will guide the communication and engagement activities run by Family & Community Services (FACS) throughout the life of the redevelopment project. This group meets on 3rd Wednesday of month from 2pm – 3.30pm. This group is in addition to the usual NAB meeting of elected precinct representatives and the NAB’s existing Redfern & Waterloo Events Group and the Waterloo Wellbeing & Safety Action Group. Dare Kavanagh from Reverse Garbage, who previously worked on community engagement and master planning for LAHC in Waterloo in 2011, was elected as the independent chair. Kira Osborne the independent community development worker for the Waterloo Redevelopment is the Secretary.

The Groundswell Redfern Waterloo Agencies have been meeting monthly to push for, and guide, community capacity building. During the 2011 Master Plan, Groundswell also operated undertaking capacity building – this Groundswell Coalition Facebook  still operates from that time. The agencies currently involved are South Sydney Community Aid, Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory), Inner Sydney Voice, Redfern Legal Service, the Tenants’ Union of NSW and Shelter NSW. Groundswell will continue to guide NGO input into capacity building and other activity around the Waterloo redevelopment. The interests of these agencies briefly are:

  • The Factory / Counterpoint Community Services (CCS)– is funded for Laura Kelly’s role as Housing Communities Program (HCP) Redfern Waterloo Community Development Worker. The Factory is also funded for Kira Osborne, a new 12 month Community Development Officer who started in March to work with the community during the Master Planning (see more on Kira below). The Factory also provides a range of services and facilitates groups working with and for Waterloo tenants.
  • Inner Sydney Voice (ISV) – is funded for David White’s Tenants Participation Resource Service who handles elections and training for NABs in our area and across Northern Sydney. It also has a specialist HACC sector Development Officer Ross Bennett and does capacity building for the regional human services sector producing the ISV magazine such as the Winter 2016 – Redeveloping Public Housing. ISV is funded, initially for a 12 month (4 days a week), Capacity Building Project Worker Thomas Chailloux who in March commenced work with tenants and surrounding residents to help them better understand the Master Plan and to participate in the discussion about what happens in their community (you can see more about Thomas below). ISV is also seeking funding to supply residents with independent expert advice during the master planning process.
  • Redfern Legal Service (RLC) – has received funding from City of Sydney to assist people facing relocation. They have experience in doing this in Millers Point. Relocations have now been pushed back in Waterloo to mid-2018. RLC continue to provide tenancy legal support to people in Waterloo and will probably provide tenancy training in the capacity building.
  • South Sydney Community Aid (SSCA) – is the local multicultural community centre servicing the Waterloo estate. It is looking at how it can support the CALD communities during the Master Plan discussion with specialist language and cultural expertise.
  • Shelter NSW and the Tenants’ Union of NSW are state-wide peaks so are not closely involved on the ground in Waterloo but have immense experience in policy and bring to the table knowledge of what has and is happening in other redevelopments. They are working on broader issues of relevance to Waterloo and will provide capacity-building expertise.

Independent Assistance for Master Planning – this was requested by almost all parties involved with Waterloo tenants. Kira Osborne and Thomas Chailloux have recently started work to independently resource tenants and the broader community during planning for the Waterloo redevelopment. An Aboriginal community worker will join them after the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) establishes an independent recruitment process with key Aboriginal stakeholders and the independent supply of expertise for the Master planning consultations has been requested and is under consideration. While funding comes from LAHC to agencies the agencies employ the workers and the work is guided by the Groundswell agencies. You can see a recent South Sydney Herald Article on Kira and Thomas at Independent assistance for master planning. Their roles are as follows:

  • Kira Osborne is employed by Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory). Kira’s role will be similar to Laura Kelly’s Community Development role but with a specific focus on the redevelopment. She will be the Secretary to the Waterloo Redevelopment Group (WRG). Kira recently told SSH, “I believe that everyone impacted by the redevelopment should be respected, consulted and heard in an active and genuine way”. She has quickly identified, “the incredibly diverse and connected community that exists within Waterloo and I hope my role can capture and highlight these strengths, ensuring the rich culture of Waterloo is maintained.” Kira has a degree in Psychological Science and has previously worked with high-risk youth and their families.
  • Thomas Chailloux is employed by Inner Sydney Voice to fill the capacity-building role. He recently told SSH that he sees the purpose of his work is to “work with people to overcome barriers to their effective participation in the Master Planning process.” He will create the tools that tenants, surrounding residents and relevant community organisations need to have their voices heard and respected in the Waterloo Redevelopment. Thomas has worked for the City of Paris and has a background in Urban Public Policy. He told SSH the job gave him scope to work with “his passion for participatory democracy processes, his strong commitment to social justice and involvement of people in developing public policies.”

Resident Groups – In the non-agency space there are two local resident groups: REDWatch (REDW – Redfern Eveleigh Darlington and Waterloo) and the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG). The Alexandria Residents Action Group (ARAG) borders the new Metro Station to the West.

  • REDWatch has a broader remit than Waterloo, but it was set up in 2004 to ensure the areas’ diverse communities are heard in discussions with government about what happens in the area. It has been working behind the scenes in discussions to seek clarification about what is happening and to get better processes this time around. REDWatch’s involvement will clarify as things unfold as it does not want to duplicate what others are doing, but will bring to bear its previous experience in dealing with capacity building during the last Master Plan in its involvement with communities, committees and government. You can see information about the current and past pushes for the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate on Waterloo Public Housing Renewal tab on the REDWatch website. You can email REDWatch on mail@redwatch.org.au or follow on Facebook at facebook.com/RedfernEveleighDarlingtonWaterlooWatch/
  • WPHAG was established by Richard Weeks and has been active over the last year meeting with Minister Hazzard, bureaucrats, running a petition, a tent embassy and trying to gain exposure for what is happening in Waterloo. It meets weekly and attendance is open to anyone, not just public housing tenants. It has been active in pushing LAHC to address maintenance issues. Among other things, WPHAG is seeking to ensure no one leaves Waterloo unless they want to, that the high-rise are refurbished (re-blocked) rather than pulled down, that there is no change to tenant leases in the transfer and that LAHC retains ownership of all existing land. You find out more about them at wphag.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/wphagwaterloo or email the group at wphag.nsw@hotmail.com

#WeLiveHere2017 – was an early project initiated by a local resident Clare Lewis. It was initially auspiced by Counterpoint Community Services (The Factory) and worked with WPHTG – you can find more details at www.welivehere2017.com.au. We Live Here list its current projects as:

  • Opinion hub: We’ve made a platform to capture your ideas and concerns about the redevelopment plans for Waterloo.
  • Story hub: We welcome people contributing their Waterloo story to our Facebook page or Instagram, just hashtag #WeLiveHere2017 and let’s see who’s out there, and what you love about Waterloo.
  • Documentary: We are making a documentary that explores and celebrates our neighbourhood stories. We are also working with Matavai and Turanga Towers to create a community-powered light sculpture in 2017.
  • Light project: Five hundred residents will be given a coloured mood light for their window to express how they feel about the changes before relocations begin.

A Community Master Plan – this is a proposal for a Community Masterplan to run alongside the official Master Plan. The people involved in this are talking to academics, architects and planners about being involved in this project. It could provide independent options to tenants through the Mater Planning process. This group meets every two weeks and have negotiated a space for hands on master planning in the shopping centre in the middle of the Waterloo estate. If you are interested in more information contact Joey Watson joey.watson@pobox.com.

Turning Towers – Milk Crate Theatre – How can a community stay connected during a time of dramatic and rapid change? Milk Crate Theatre teamed up with Counterpoint Community Services and South Sydney Community Aid to create an original, interactive play inspired by the NSW Government plan to redevelop the inner city suburb of Waterloo during February and March 2017. You can read about the initial Milk Crate Theatre project at Let our people stay!. One suspects that there will be more opportunities for such productions in Waterloo. For more information contact: Milk Crate Theatre (02) 9698 7133 OR mail@milkcratetheatre.com.

City of Sydney Council – The Waterloo redevelopment is within the City of Sydney’s local government area but as a State Significant site Council has had little say in what happens since the Redfern Waterloo Authority came into the area in 2005. The City in mid-2016 raised concerns about the indicative densities used for the Waterloo Estate by UrbanGrowth NSW’s Central to Eveleigh (C2E) project for Waterloo. The City has been involved in negotiations with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment over the requirements and studies required for the Waterloo estate to be declared a State Significant Precinct. A monthly meeting across Council is co-ordinating Council’s involvement in the redevelopment. Under a Council motion when Council entered into an MOU with C2E they are also to work with the community as well as with NSW Government agencies.

Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) – The owner of the land and the organiser of the master plan. The following update on LAHC was supplied to the SSH in late March 2017:

“LAHC staff based at Ashfield are leading communications and engagement for the master planning exercise. Waterloo Connect will be involved in the master planning consultation activities.

FACS staff work from Waterloo Connect conducting client service visits so that any tenancy issues can continue to be addressed and so they are kept up to date on the redevelopment in order to help address any questions residents may have. The client service visits will continue throughout the year.

Engagement with the Aboriginal community in Waterloo is a fundamental aspect to the Waterloo redevelopment program. FACS is currently engaging with Aboriginal stakeholders to ensure the Aboriginal worker role meets the Aboriginal community’s needs. Once further consultation with these stakeholders has taken place, an independent recruitment process will be undertaken to find the right person for this role. 

The redevelopment of the Waterloo estate is a long term program over 15-20 years. Capacity building will commence in April this year, and master planning will start in May. Next month FACS will release a schedule of master planning activities so the community can have their say and be informed when and how they can get involved.

Tenant relocations will not commence until mid-2018 at the earliest. FACS will work closely with residents relocating temporarily and support them throughout the relocation process. 

The intention is for the majority of residents to be able to move from their current homes directly into the new social housing as it is completed. Any residents who are temporarily relocated will be offered the opportunity to move back to a new home in Waterloo.” 

 

This overview was initially prepared by REDWatch on 30 January 2017 and updated on 7 April 2017 for use by the South Sydney Herald. If you have any additions or changes for this overview please email mail@redwatch.org.au

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