Sydney Council baulks at funding Barangaroo transport links
NSW Treasurer Mike Baird will consider the Sydney Business Chamber proposal that City of Sydney rates fund the necessary light rail and the ferry services for the Barangaroo development.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore says she yet to consulted about the plan, which she suggests would put other planned city improvements in jeopardy.
Sydney Business Chamber executive Patricia Forsythe suggests that procuring council rates through a special act of Parliament could fund public transport to the site.
Public transport is traditionally funded by state, not local government, so Moore has suggested without those rates, the council’s capacity to offer some $180 million to fund its preferred transport initiatives would be called into question.
“Our promise to the government of $180 million for transport and light rail in the CBD included rates forecast right across central Sydney,” Moore says.
Sydney Business Chamber executive Patricia Forsythe says getting transport right for Barangaroo is “the next big challenge”.
She told SMH reporter Josephine Tovey that in an era where credit was tight, where funds becoming available for infrastructure are not as freely given as they were in years past, it is necessary to find a solution ensuring that transport remains a number one priority.
Construction has recently started on the Barangaroo project, which has been estimated to net $7 million plus annually for the council in rates on completion.
Earlier this year the Barangaroo project's lead architect, Lord Richard Rogers, affirmed the project ought to proceed despite any public transport deficit surrounding the project.
“You have to go ahead, even without it, as otherwise the precinct will be even less sustainable,” Rogers said in an interview proceeding the release of the NSW Auditor-General's report that suggests an extra 13,000 commuters a day would pass through Wynyard station to get to work at Barangaroo within a decade.
The Auditor-General's report highlighted the transport challenge of delivering 22,700 people to Barangaroo, with the former government lacking any specific transportation initiatives.
“It was a pity they [the Labor government] haven’t done more and I hope [the Coalition government] go ahead now, especially with the light rail,” Rogers says.
He says all he could assume was if the density were increased “then ideally a visionary government will put the public transport”.
“It will all help – using the harbour more would be wonderful. I don’t understand why it’s used so little,” he said.
Rogers describes the renewal of the 22-hectare stretch of concrete and East Darling Harbour wharves as ''turning Sydney's back door into another front door''.
Rogers says: “You have to fill in the holes.
"This is a classic hole... It's a big piece of concrete on the potentially most beautiful promontory.
"I sense the new NSW government is very pro strengthening the city," Rogers says.
A report by The Australian in June indicated the new NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, who has an investment banking background, was one senior figure in the new government who was an unashamed proponent of Barangaroo as a financial services hub for the Sydney CBD.
"Done well and incorporating community concerns, this is our chance to have the Canary Wharf of the Asia-Pacific," Baird suggests.
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