The waiting game is over
WATERLOO: The community has long waited to see what the NSW government has in store for the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate. In May we received the Visioning Report, from the initial engagement phase, which provided the principles guiding the plans. Since then we have continued to wait for the release of the baseline technical studies, study sessions to commence and news of the three master plan options.
On August 2 the Minister for Social Housing, Pru Goward, released three options for the Waterloo estate, each having different designs for open space, buildings and community and retail facilities. Although the community was expecting technical studies first, this unexpected announcement was a welcomed one. Finally we were able to see what is being proposed for the estate and an indicative staging plan for the redevelopment. One option looks at a variety of pocket parks and streetscapes, while two others free up more green and open space by having higher buildings. All options have very high density and target 30 per cent social housing and at least 5 per cent affordable housing.
Releasing the options prior to engagement allows the community time to digest the concept plans before being consulted. However, this has raised many questions with the community eager to commence the next engagement phase to find out more on what is being proposed. Issues such as building heights, green space, parking and social mix are expected to be of high importance to the community.
The options testing engagement phase is expected to start late September following the technical study sessions, which run from August 29 to September 8. This will consist of focus groups targeted at participants from the visioning process that occurred in late 2017. The feedback will inform the development of one preferred plan. Specific sessions will be organised to include all members of the community, however the number of people able to participate is limited.
Two community days will support the options testing process; one at each end of the consultation phase, answering questions about the concept plans and then providing feedback on what the community has said that will contribute towards a preferred plan. Online and paper version surveys will also be released to capture local opinion on the options.
Now is the time to get active; people have waited over two years to see what the estate might become in the future, and it is time for the community to have their say. We strongly encourage people to ask questions, attend planned activities, and encourage your families, friends and neighbours to get involved to ensure the community doesn’t miss their chance to voice what is important to them.
Brochures containing the three options, information about the upcoming community days and paper surveys are available at The Factory Community Centre, Inner Sydney Voice, Waterloo Connect Office and online at www.communitiesplus.com.au/major-sites/waterloo/.
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