Given that the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) Bay Run DA proposal is expensive and destructive of heritage, and does not give proposed users enough room to move without conflict, Leichhardt council's amendments to the Bay Run DA are eminently sensible, managing to meet the needs of users worried about conflict and conservationists worried about impacts on the heritage landscape.
In the past the member for Balmain, Verity Firth, has been publicly supportive of the Bay Run upgrade being done as part of the masterplan for Callan Park. In a letter to the Friends of Callan Park (FOCP) Ms Firth says:
"As you know, under the proposed transfer of land Council will be responsible for the maintenance of the Bay Run and the delivery of its upgrade. However, the NSW Government $246,000 grant previousiy awarded to the Authority for the upgrade will be transferred to Council along with control and care of the land. lt is my belief that this upgrade must be conducted as soon as is feasible, but will be best delivered as part of a holistic local plan for the site,"
However her online survey misrepresents both options, omitting the negative impacts of SHFA's proposal, and not explaining the reasons for Leichhardt Council's amendments.
Here are some examples: SHFA proposes: a three metre wide path which would cause conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.
Council's proposes: for a five metre separated path is much more preferable for safety and amenity reasons; Council also proposes that Waterfront Drive be closed to cars.
the destruction of several significant trees along the shoreline that provide shade and important habitat;
formalised parking directly on the water front which is inappropriate and will impose conflicts with the busy bike and pedestrian paths;
an expensive and unnecessary cantilever to provide continuity for the Bay Run when a bridge already exists.
Council staff, residents, Friends of Callan Park and Councillors agreed that a more cost effective and safe option is the one developed in consultation with the masterplan consultants.
In response to council amendments, Cr Kogoy said, “Council planners have proposed a sensible and safe alternative to the SHFA's destructive proposal”, with Cr Plate adding , "The five metre wide separated path is the optional solution and in keeping with the best part of the Bay Run."
Cr McKenzie said "Council's proposal is a better and cheaper option that allows everyone: bike riders, runners, dog walkers and families with prams, to use the Bay Run without conflict and preserves the green hillside and the heritage habitat trees".
Jamie Parker, Mayor of Leichhardt and Greens Candidate for the seat of Balmain explained, "We have examined these issues and amended the DA to deal with the problems identified by Council staff".
Councillor Stamolis endorsed Mayor Parker’s comments when he said:
“Council know this site very well and have undertaken significant works along other parts of the Bay Run which have been of great benefit to many users. SHFA needs to acknowledge this and accept changes proposed by Council. The SHFA proposal, if left in its current form, could encourage more traffic and adversely impact on green space.”
Email the member for Balmain Verity Firth at email@example.com to support Leichhardt Council's amended proposal for the Bay Run.