“The community around Redfern and Waterloo have seen so many stages of consultations and masterplans for the area,” Newtown Greens MP Jenny Leong said. “It’s outrageous.”
The government and City of Sydney have been at odds over plans to raze the estate’s existing buildings and relocate about 2500 residents to make way for a higher density mix of social, affordable and private homes.
The government’s plan to demolish the estate for 6800 dwellings in towers up to 40 storeys was criticised by Sydney’s lord mayor Clover Moore as an “urban disaster”. It prompted the council’s planners to put forward a lower-density proposal for 5300 homes in blocks up to 13 storeys, while retaining some buildings.
Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the government’s revised proposal provided 100 additional social housing in Waterloo South.
The precinct covering two-thirds of the estate has two-hectares of open space, wider tree-lined streets and more bike paths.
REDWatch community group spokesman Geoff Turnbull said the fate of the Matavai and Turanga towers, which house 500 residents, and larger housing blocks in Waterloo Central and Waterloo North was “still to be determined”.
Mr Turnbull said residents were concerned preparing plans for one part of the estate first would make it difficult to work out how the buildings and public open spaces in later precincts might work together.
City of Sydney Labor councillor Linda Scott, said it was “unhelpful the NSW government has not allowed the community to consider the whole of the Waterloo redevelopment at the same time”.
A spokeswoman for Ms Pavey said the “retention and refurbishment” of the Matavai and Turanga towers “will be explored in consultation with the City of Sydney as part of future planning proposals”.
“The remainder of the estate, Waterloo Central and Waterloo North, are still under consideration and their masterplans and planning proposals will be progressed in consultation with the City of Sydney,” she said.
“The final dwelling numbers and mix for these precincts, and the entire estate are subject to future planning proposals.”
In a letter to residents, Ms Moore said the council would “rigorously assess” the government’s application before more detailed plans were released for public consultation.
Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.