There are calls for the Canterbury-Bankstown Council to stand against the State Government’s extensive rezoning plans for the area.
It comes as the government finalises its planning proposals for the Sydenham-to-Bankstown railway corridor, following a period of public consultation which ended late last year.
Greens councillor Linda Eisler, the only member of the old Canterbury Council to be elected to the newly merged council, said that current plans had failed to guarantee the additional infrastructure required to service an increased population.
Cr Eisler said the strategy did not work on a number of grounds,” Cr Eisler said.
“What is needed is adequate green space, adequate school buildings, adequate hospitals and adequate public transport.”
The State Government’s Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy contains extensive rezoning proposals for the areas surrounding all 11 railway stations between Sydenham and Bankstown on the Bankstown Line. The railway is to be converted to metro rail to become the second stage of the Sydney Metro project by the end of 2024.
The government claims that its rezoning proposals will result in more than 35,000 new dwellings along the railway corridor, though some community groups have claimed that this estimate is too conservative.
The Sydenham-To-Bankstown Alliance is a coalition of community groups along the corridor. Its convenor, Peter Olive, said newly-formed local councils needed to position themselves as the main mechanisms for community involvement.
“What we would want them to do is set up committees which involve and engage the community, (and) that they take a lead in opposing these extravagances of the State Government,” Mr Olive said.
“(But) local government really just exists at the behest of the State Government. We saw that with the enforced amalgamations.”
The State Government released its first proposal for the corridor in 2015. Following a period of public submissions, the Department of Planning and Environment released a revised strategy in June. The new plans designated Canterbury, Campsie, Belmore, and Lakemba, all within the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area, as “priority precincts”.
Planners will target priority precincts as centres for increased density and development over the coming years, with the stated aim of improving housing affordability.
Cr Eisler suggested that strong community activism had forced the government to treat inner suburbs more carefully than in her area.
“I think the noisy wheel gets the action and I think that there’s good reasons why (the State Government) would be more favourable towards more inner west suburbs than the outer west suburbs”, Cr Eisler said.
Mr Olive was quick to affirm his organisation’s position that the rezoning proposals equally affected the entire corridor.
“(Dulwich Hill) is getting 2,000 extra dwellings and Marrickville’s getting 6,000 extra dwellings, so I don’t think there is any discrimination between one area over another,” Mr Olive said.
“I would like to see unity within the corridor against the whole set of proposals rather than people being set against one another.”
Though public submissions closed just prior to last month’s council elections, Canterbury-Bankstown and Inner West councils have been allowed time to develop their own submissions. The government will then release its final plans for the corridor early next year. The Department of Planning and Environment forecasts gradual implementation between 2020 and 2036.
Central News contacted two Liberal members of Canterbury-Bankstown Council for comment. Neither had responded at the time of publication.