To the Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Parliament House NSW.
We write seeking your urgent assistance to make sure inner-city community groups are permitted to have meaningful consultation in relation to planning the Central to Eveleigh Corridor urban renewal project. This is currently not happening.
In recent days, we have learnt that a “Community Panel” has been selected to attend a series of workshops and briefings organised by Urban Growth. This news was the result of our own enquiries. The first workshop was held on April 19 with participants paid $150 to attend. We understand the workshops are instrumental to planning the corridor. Yet, it appears no community representatives have been invited to participate; rather other forums will follow later.
Central to Eveleigh Corridor is one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects with the project area taking in some of Sydney’s oldest heritage suburbs. Media reports suggest the CBD will be extended south along the corridor, CBD height restrictions lifted and the land use substantially changed. This is unknown by the wider local community, despite its far-reaching implications.
While community engagement can take various forms, evidence shows a robust and collaborative strategic planning process delivers better outcomes for large and complex projects. As such, focus groups are not considered a substitute for quality consultation. Rather, the process should enable local groups and communities to participate in the same workshops.
Yet, despite suggestions to improve the consultation process, it appears feedback has been ignored. This includes concerns about the way in which a “community” forum was conducted last December and a survey was used for the selection of participants. We know other communities in NSW have expressed the same concerns.
In response, we would appreciate your urgent help to address these concerns and ensure that community groups are not excluded from these workshops; and that any deliberative process provides community groups and the wider community the same opportunities to participate.