Power Station Central to Harbour Revitalisation Plan


The century old White Bay Power Station will be the centrepiece of a 77ha precinct plan which aims to reinvent a section of Sydney’s unused harbour foreshore, according to plans launched this week.

The NSW government's draft plan has six key focus points for the area, which is three-and-a half times the size of Barangaroo.

The plan includes a focus on repurposing the heritage-listed White Bay Power Station at Rozelle and a potential crossing from Bays West to Pyrmont.

The draft strategy, which was announced Monday, comes after NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes last year rejected claims the disused power station would be demolished after Treasurer Dominic Perrottet suggesting just that.

Along with a vision to build around the confirmed Metro Station, the draft strategy includes residential housing and business-hub to “capitilise” on the new metro infrastructure.

▲ White Bay Power Station. Sydney redevelopment. NSW Gov Plans White Bay Power Station and Precinct Redevelopment.
▲ Plans for the restoration of the White Bay Power Station and surrounding precinct. Bays West Place Strategy.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the draft aimed to “harness Sydney’s blue [rivers, lakes, the ocean, etc] infrastructure” in the creation of a mixed-use precinct.

“We can unlock the potential of this area as part of the innovation corridor, drawing new business and entertainment and cultural opportunities,” Stokes said.

“Bays West is so central and historically significant to Sydney that it is time to revitalise the area and make it a desirable place for people to live, work and visit.”

▲ The strategy allows for a potential footbridge connecting Rozelle to Glebe Point Road. Image: Anzac bridge on the left and Glebe Island bridge on the right, Draft Bays West Place Strategy.
▲ Anzac bridge (left) and Glebe Island bridge (right). The strategy allows for a potential footbridge connecting Rozelle to Glebe Point Road.

After closing in 1984, the former coal-fired power station, built between 1912 and 1917, appeared destined to be demolished but was listed on the heritage register in 1999.

In 2015, former NSW premier Mike Baird announced that the government wanted the White Bay power station to be turned into an international technology hub, with Google one of 13 companies that submitted proposals for the project.

Google pulled out as an anchor tenant in 2017 over concerns about a lack of public transport.

▲ White Bay Power Station. Sydney redevelopment. 
▲ The longest-serving power station in Sydney, White Bay was built between 1912-1917.

The new strategy says the precinct would deliver “a range of housing”, including affordable housing to support jobs created in the precinct and the growth of the eastern harbour city.

The draft plan includes a waterfront park within the precinct, while maintaing and supporting the working harbour, and the creation of a harbour foreshore walk.

▲ White Bay Power Station. Sydney redevelopment. 
▲ Sydney Metro, the 24-km rail line linking Parramatta to the CBD, is slated to open by 2030 and includes stations at White Bay.

The first step for the Bays West draft plan includes restorative works at the power station.

The state has allocated $14 million for this first phase, which includes the building's structural integrity, safety and remediation works. They are due to begin later this year.

▲ Draft Bays West strategy. Image: NSW government.
▲ The precinct spans 77ha and is three-and-a half times the size of Barangaroo. Image: NSW Government.

Placemaking NSW chief executive Anita Mitchell said the urgent maintenance would be the first of three stages expected to be completed in 2024.

“The initial scoping we did last month will establish what works are needed to restore the site to a state that preserves the building and makes it safe for access,” Mitchell said.

The draft Bays West Place Strategy is open to community and industry consultation, and is on exhibition from this week until April 29.

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