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SSC Newspaper : March 2012
Strathfield Scene 21 www.ourstrathfield.com.au life “All it takes is a catalyst, and it is hoped more food outlets and businesses will be attracted to the area." – David Hazeldine, strategic planning manager. to start fighting for that.” Another challenge Finney identified is reaching critical mass. “You need to reach critical mass for a viable and sustainable com- munity,” she said. For example, you need about 10,000 people to support a supermarket. But she predicted traffic flow would not increase too much with its close proximity to the city and public transport. Strathfield Council realises that these are all important points that need to be considered and properly planned for, according to Hazeldine. Council is currently reviewing the existing Develop- ment Control Plan, the LEP’s key supporting document, to ad- dress this issue. It will report within the next six months. But some residents are concerned that more people will just mean more crowds, traffic and noise. Longtime resident Regina Procter claimed the community had changed in recent years. “I used to know all the locals back when I was in high school but now there are more rental properties and they don’t care as much about their homes.” The 2006 census showed that there was a reasonable proportion of owner-occupiers, and not so many renters. But this may change with the release of the 2011 census data. Procter also predicted “more disaster – where are the cars going to go?” It’s a familiar cry. Hazeldine said the council was working to con- trol traffic issues. Officials are reviewing parking spaces per dwell- ing. Canada Bay at one point insisted that developers give unit owners just one parking spot in a bid to curb traffic. “Council is [also] engaging with Roads and Maritime Services on traffic flow, as the key roads in the area are outside of council’s control,” he said. Hazeldine added: “All it takes is a catalyst, and it is hoped that more food outlets and businesses will be attracted to the area.” Gary Lohwass has lived in the area for more than 10 years. He understands Strathfield Council’s predicament, but with the in- creased density, he hopes council will develop accordingly. “We need to locate people close to existing transport routes but council has to step up to a level to cater to the increased density. We already have more people and they don’t seem to be doing enough.” The council has identified a series of design issues with some of the recent development. The LEP “allows for some sensitive increases in development capacity along the corridor,” Hazeldine said. Other residents have praised Homebush as a suburb that boasts frequent public transport services and access to good schools close to the city. Erika Zirkzee has grown up in the area and is glad to call it home. “I like the village atmosphere,” she said. “The plan might mean more people will use the station and we’ll get more trains. This is a good thing.” According to Sammy Haddad from Devine Real Estate, this transformation is a long time coming. “It’s the future of Sydney. From Shanghai to Singapore, Europe to the Middle East, the world is moving towards living in units. There you seldom find houses. There isn’t much vacant land in Strathfield so more and more of us are living in apartments.” But he acknowledges the traffic problems echoed by residents. “In the past it has been difficult to sell. People view Parramatta Road as a traffic mess.” But Haddad is excited about the planned injection of people for the community, and for business. “The more the merrier. “It will create a lot more activity, especially for us, with people buying and selling.” ■ For more information, visit www.strathfieldlep.com.au and view the Parramatta Road Corridor Fact Sheet. Residents speak out on plan Residents have grabbed their last chance to speak with planning officials from Strathfield Council about the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) – the blueprint for Strathfield’s developmental future. So far, around 25 submissions have been made to council. Around 734 people visited the council’s LEP site and about 50 to 80 attended each information session run by the council. Many residents questioned planners about any changes to their properties and a large number of developers made enquiries about their options to build on Parramatta Road. Residents Don and Lynne McMillan have lived in Strathfield South for 40 years and are worried about their street being rezoned into a medium-density residential area. “We came here today to find out more information about what’s going in our area,” said Don McMillan. “Currently our area is zoned as a low-density residential area but council want to change the zoning where we live. It means that we could be surrounded by townhouses.” And they fear that what was once a quiet part of the municipality could become a bustling neighbourhood. “But at this stage, we’re not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. We’re just here to have a look at the plans and see what could potentially be going on.” Hotspots in the plan include developments in the town centre, Parramatta Road, Liverpool Road and industrial areas in Greenacre. Concord resident Ken Wan said he is worried that traffic conditions would worsen on Parramatta Road if higher density areas were approved. “There is already a great traffic problem on Parramatta Raod,” he said. “Higher density housing on Parramatta Road means more traffic in an already heavily used area.” But business owners and Strathfield residents George Staikos and Hab Lahood said they wanted council to lift restrictions on Liverpool Road so developers could build high-density housing. “The property on Liverpool Road is not worth as much because the housing is still classified as medium density, rather than high density,” said Lahood. “It’s not appealing for developers to buy land there because they are unable to build More developments like this are expected on Parramatta Road in future.