Communities prepare to have their say
Four months after mentioning its imminent start in this same column, we are still waiting for the beginning of the Waterloo Redevelopment visioning process led by government.
While these continuing delays can be frustrating and a source of anxiety for some, we can also see them as a sign that government is committed to listening and designing a process with the community. We can also use these delays as an opportunity. For example, Inner Sydney Voice was able to put together a special edition of its magazine entirely dedicated to the Waterloo Redevelopment, helping the community to get ready to have its say. An online version is available as well as a paper edition. In the meantime, others also get ready in their own way.
Russian, Cantonese and Mandarin speakers of the Waterloo Estate can talk with the bilingual educators employed by Counterpoint Community Services to get information about the Waterloo Redevelopment, get to know what happens during the community meetings conducted exclusively in English and gain a better understanding the planning process.
Young students of Mount Carmel School in Waterloo presented their vision of “Our Future Waterloo” in a joyful and positive theatre play performance on Thursday September 14.
On Wednesday October 4, Inner Sydney Voice is putting on a free movie night at South Sydney Uniting Church, on Raglan Street. We will watch Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, an inspiring documentary about Jane Jacobs, a relentless activist and influential thinker on urban design and planning.
During the last week of August, Kira Osborne and I organised morning teas in the various community rooms around the estate, including one outside in the carpark near the recycling workshop. People were invited to share a cup of tea and contribute to “Community Wish Lists” so that the key messages related to five major themes are ready to be put forward during the visioning process. What are people’s concerns? What would they like for the future? So far we have heard that some people want sustainable energy, community rooms in all buildings, noise mitigation design, balconies for all, parking, bus routes, medical and aged care facilities, barbecues, multipurpose parks in the sun, and that’s only a small portion of the ideas we have heard!
Some might doubt their actual impact on the process, but maybe it’s important to remind ourselves of a simple truth: While we do not always get what we ask for, if we do not ask, we do not get anything. We invite each and everyone in the community to put everything that is important to them on the table during the visioning when it finally starts.
Thomas Chailloux is Capacity Building Project Worker with Inner Sydney Voice email email@example.com mobile 0490 030 809. Thomas works Monday to Thursday.
Kira Osborne is Waterloo Redevelopment Community Development Officer with Counterpoint: email firstname.lastname@example.org phone 9698 9569 ext. 6