NSW Government's 2036 Plan Draws Widespread Scrutiny


The NSW government’s recently proposed 2036 draft plan is receiving heavy scrutiny from a number of leading planning and political pundits who are calling for the proposal to be halted.

Within the St Leonards Crows Nest 2036 Draft Plan is a proposal to develop 7,500 new dwellings over the next 20 years, adding an additional 10,000 people to the area.

The plan also outlines rezoning for the area surrounding the Victoria Cross metro (Crows Nest) which currently has a pending development application for a 27-storey tower situated above.

In addition, a state levy is being proposed, with the Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) promising to ensure new development financially contributes towards infrastructure upgrades that support the proposed density increases.

The SIC anticipates to raise $113.6 million in funding for regional open space projects, pedestrian, cycling and vehicle infrastructure, a school and recouping $1.7 million in consultancy fees.

The proposed contribution rate is $15,100 per additional dwelling.

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Crows Nest Metro currently has a 27-storey building proposed above it.
Crows Nest Metro currently has a 27-storey building proposed above it. Image: NSW Government

However, since putting the draft plan on public exhibition the NSW government have been criticised for their lack of collaboration with local government and the community, who disagree with the proposed outcomes.

On Monday a report was filed to local council by North Sydney Council urban design team leader Emma Booth.

Booth highlights a series of widespread concerns surrounding the plans inability to effectively address oversupply, particularly in Crows Nest.

According to Booth’s report, the 2036 plan proposes an oversupply of residential capacity and is not supported by adequate plans for employment, transport, open space, social infrastructure or utilities.

The report also takes aim at the imposition of the SIC, which Booth states will significantly reduce, if not eliminate, council’s ability to negotiate future voluntary planning agreements (VPAs) to fund local infrastructure projects such as Hume Street Park.

Public benefits currently secured via a VPA include the Arts Centre at 619-621 Pacific Highway, $3.4 million in financial contributions towards Hume Street Park and $3 million towards the breathing wall and Mitchell Street Plaza upgrade.

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St Leonards, SydneyImage: Aplus Design Group

The report raises particular concern with the lack of detail or justification around the major open space projects being mooted within the plan, notably the $46 million foreshore link and $26 million Hume Street Park expansion.

Booth’s report proposes the outcome should see the 2036 plan refined with collaboration between NSW government, local government and the community.

According to Booth, collaboration on the state levy and metro rezoning proposal should ensure growth is well managed and supported by the timely delivery of upgraded open space, recreation and social infrastructure.

The sentiments of the report are shared by former North Sydney mayor Genia McCaffrey who claims not enough time and resources have been allocated to the community to adequately assess or provide feedback on the draft.

McCaffrey is currently leading the community group OVERdevelopment – we’re OVER it, who last week conducted a several hundred person rally to protest the government's plan.

According to McCaffrey, should the draft plan move ahead, Crows Nest and St Leonards would have a population more dense than parts of Manhattan.

McCaffrey accused the NSW government of attempting to transform Sydney from a low-density city into a very high-density one, almost overnight.

Rally organisers also accused NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and Liberal member for North Sydney, Felicity Wilson, of ignoring their concerns.

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Gianna McCaffrey is currently leading the community group OVERdevelopment – we’re OVER it.
Gianna McCaffrey is currently leading the community group OVERdevelopment – we’re OVER it. Image: AAP-Roy Snook

The sentiments of the former North Sydney mayor are contrasted by current mayor Jilly Gibson who labelled the backlash a “scare campaign”.

In a local council meeting on Monday night Gibson expressed her dismay after select councillors challenged the draft plan, claiming more time and resources should be allocated to consultation with local government and the community.

“We keep hearing this doom and gloom as though Crows Nest is going to be totally ruined,

“Councilors, we are getting a new metro station, we should be really happy about this.

“I want that metro station, it’s going to do wonderful things for Crows Nest, it’s going to do wonderful things for our community,

“We’d have to be economic nitwits to think our metro station is going to be provided without some accompanying development to pay for it.” Gibson said.

Gibson followed this by refuting the 2036 plan and North Sydney metro development would “destroy” Crows Nest.

“I’ve been talking to a couple of buyers agents recently and I have a few friends who work in the real estate industry and prices around Crows Nest are skyrocketing because people want to move in and be near the metro,” Gibson said.

“Make no mistake, how can you say an area is going to be totally destroyed when property prices are already going up in anticipation the metro station is going to be there. ”

“I have to totally disagree with this scare campaign that is being mounted, if this doom and gloom was happening people would be selling out Crows Nest, not rushing to buy in.”

North Sydney’s planning department are currently preparing a new report expanding on the points outlined in Booth’s report submitted on Monday.

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