Friday, 29 May 2009

Bullock Island Rail Corridor

Here's a copy of the Notice of Motion that I submitted, with Cr Claydon, on 29 May 2009.



That Newcastle City Council initiate relevant clarifications or amendments to environmental planning instruments associated with the possible future use of the former Bullock Island rail corridor in Wickham (referred to as the “Possible Future Transport Corridor” shown on the gazetted Wickham Redevelopment Area Map (sheet WRA – 001) of the Newcastle City Centre Local Environmental Plan 2008) to ensure that:

  1. 1. the instruments reflect the objective of the Wickham DCP for stronger pedestrian links between the residential area and Wickham Park,
  2. 2. the corridor is developed in accordance with the Wickham DCP and is retained for future pedestrian-friendly, ecologically sustainable transport (such as rail trams, light rail and cycleways) development, and
  3. 3. the instruments specifically preclude future use of the corridor for major road or heavy rail development.

Council developed a Development Control Plan specifically for Wickham to ensure that the redevelopment and renewal of Wickham balances local character with economic, social and environmental issues.

The Wickham DCP was drafted after extensive consultation and involvement with the local community through community meetings (including the Throsby Community Forum) and informal walk and talk gatherings which Council staff said “provided an excellent opportunity for the community to express their views on the built form and history of their suburb”.

The Wickham DCP was adopted by Council on 27 November 2007.

The Wickham DCP has a number of objectives including to:
• achieve sustainable growth through quality medium density residential mixed use development
• strengthen Wickham’s sense of place as a traditional working suburb that is walkable and self sufficient and supports its local community
• creates stronger linkages with the surrounding suburbs

The retention of the former Bullock Island rail corridor was specifically included in the Wickham DCP to:
• interpret a part of Wickham’s history
• improve connectivity and amenity on the existing site
• increase accessibility from surrounding area to Wickham Park
• create an intimate residential environment

The Wickham DCP envisaged a minimum 8 metre wide pedestrian/ cycle access with a minimum 2 metre wide median to allow for medium size trees (clause 6.8.5e).

However, when the Newcastle City Centre LEP 2008 was gazetted on Friday, 1 February 2008 the only mention of the Bullock Island rail corridor was a reference to a “Possible Future Transport Corridor” shown on the gazetted Wickham Redevelopment Area Map (sheet WRA – 001)

This “Possible Future Transport Corridor” is undefined in any of the relevant environmental acts, regulations or environmental planning instruments.

This lack of definition and speculation by some people in the media has resulted in understandable concern and anxiety in the local community.

This motion aims to clarify Council’s intention with regards to the former Bullock Island rail corridor in Wickham, referred to as the “Possible Future Transport Corridor”.

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