Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Waterloo SSP: Updates from REDWatch

Some updates from our friends at REDWatch:
Dear REDWatch Members & Supporters & Agencies, 
The long awaited declaration of the Waterloo State Significant Precinct (SSP) happened in a Media Release dated 18 May which was made public on Friday 19 May 2017. The declaration means that master planning for the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate can now start. Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) which owns the estate expect capacity building to continue over the next month or so and for consultation workshops to start towards the end of June/beginning of July. The current relocation date for the first tenants to be moved from the estate has not been pushed back past mid-2018 even though the planning process is expected to take up to 18 months to complete from its commencement. 
Below is what we know from the declaration and the initial release of information by LAHC. 
The SSP declaration covers the entire area of the consolidated Waterloo public including the private property within the boundary of the consolidated estate. NSW Planning and Environment on the State Significant Precincts page for Waterloo spells out the implications for private property holders as “should rezoning take place, future development proposals would be assessed against new and amended planning controls”. The declaration also covers what will happen over the land being compulsorily required for the new underground Waterloo Metro Railway station. This area is now referred to as the Metro Quarter. Concerns have been expressed about the density that might be put above Metro station to help pay for Sydney Metro and the recommendations for what happens on this site will also be part of the SSP assessment. 
You can see the area covered in the 20-hectare precinct in the declaration’s map parts of Waterloo (PDF map, 3.6MB). If you compare this map with the map of the estate and the Metro site resumption on the Central to Eveleigh Waterloo page (reproduced here) you can see the private property areas along Wellington Street and Cope Street between Wellington and John Streets which are not coloured in the UrbanGrowth map. 
UrbanGrowth NSW will participate in master planning across the SSP site. In the Metro Quarter, UrbanGrowth will develop a comprehensive master plan. On the LAHC land it will assist LAHC with technical work involved in developing the master plan for its site. NSW Planning and Environment says that the metro station design and the master plan for the Waterloo estate will be integrated. The statement says FACS will organise a series of master planning workshops for the community, but it is not currently clear who will handle engagement for the private landowners whose properties presumably will not be master planned. The statement on the Communities Plus website makes no reference to the private land within the estate which FACS is master planning and nothing at all has been posted yet by UrbanGrowth since the SSP declaration. NSW Planning and Environment says it will write to property owners within the precinct to formally notify them of the rezoning investigation and explain the SSP process for Waterloo. 
The precinct will now be investigated for rezoning through the State Significant Precincts process. The specific studies to be undertaken over the next 12-18 months are expected to be made public in coming days. Undertakings were given by LAHC that the community will have access to the scope of the studies and will have the opportunity to ask for key issues of concern which are not already included to be added. 
Once the master plan process is completed FACS and UrbanGrowth NSW will submit a State Significant Precinct Study to support the rezoning proposals to NSW Planning and Environment. NSW Planning and Environment and the City of Sydney Council will jointly assess proposals within the State Significant Precinct Study. 
While the City of Sydney Council has been, and will continue to be, involved in within the SSP tent, City of Sydney Council has previously recognised around Central to Eveleigh that it also needs to work with residents so that it can make an informed input into the planning process. 
REDWatch has invited representatives from City of Sydney Council to the REDWatch meeting on Thursday 1st June to present on Density done Well - what does it mean for a redevelopment like Waterloo? 
A forum for Agencies dealing with the Waterloo community will take place at Projects 107, 107 Redfern St on Thursday 25th May, between 12pm and 3.30pm by Inner Sydney Voice (previously Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development). This forum will include input from LAHC on the master planning and is aimed to help agencies respond to their clients concerns heading into master planning. Agency representatives are encouraged to attend a the “Waterloo Redevelopment – Where Do We Start?’ forum. Please RSVP to Thomas at cb@innersydneyvoice.org.au to secure a spot and for catering purposes.
You can find information about various aspects of the Waterloo redevelopment and useful resources on the following websites:
· NSW Planning and Environment: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-your-area/State-significant-precincts/Waterloo and Ministerial Media Release Waterloo nominated as next state significant precinct 
· Family and Community Service / Land and Housing Corporation’s Communities Plus: www.communitiesplus.com.au/major-sites/waterloo 
· Sydney Metro Station component: www.sydneymetro.info/station/waterloo-station - There is no site currently for the development above the station. 
· UrbanGrowth NSW Central to Eveleigh: www.centraltoeveleigh.com.au/area/waterloo-estate/ - There is no site currently on the UrbanGrowth site for the Metro Station Site master plan. Please note: UrbanGrowth NSW (http://www.urbangrowth.nsw.gov.au/) and UrbanGrowth Development Corporation (www.ugdc.nsw.gov.au/growth-centres/redfern-waterloo) are in the process of being restructured. Central to Eveleigh, of which Waterloo is part, will be part of UrbanGrowth Development Corporation answering directly to the Premier rather than the Minister of Planning. 
· Previous Proposals - The previous proposal by the RWA / SMDA for the redevelopment of Redfern and Waterloo public housing can be found on the UGDC site under Draft Built Environment Plan Stage 2 (BEP 2). Land and Housing Corporation did not release the details of its Draft Master Plan from 2011-12, nor was the review by the Government Architect released. What is known from these studies can be found on the REDWatch website through Links to Waterloo Redevelopment History
· Inner Sydney Voice’s Winter 2016 issue – Redeveloping Public Housing (PDF) contains information on the Government framework for the redevelopment. It also contains articles on what can be learnt from previous estate redevelopments and the issues that need to be addressed. You can also see the articles online at http://www.innersydneyvoice.org.au/pub/category/past-editions/winter-2016/
· For information on what is already underway in the lead up to the Waterloo Masterplan see South Sydney Herald’s Who’s who in Waterloo – April 7, 2017 or “Community voices in Waterloo master planning” in Shelter NSW’s March issue of Around the House.
Material from the current redevelopment proposals is being posted on the REDWatch website at Waterloo Public Housing Redevelopment & Metro Station.
... and ...
Just after I pressed send on my earlier email I was advised that LAHC had posted details of consultants and summaries on their Communities Plus website. 
You can see them at the foot of the page at www.communitiesplus.com.au/major-sites/waterloo. Based on the study numbers the summaries seem to be put together around the Waterloo Estate studies. As mentioned in our earlier email there are differences between the studies for Waterloo Estate and Waterloo Quarter. It is not clear without further checking if the LAHC summary includes details also from the Waterloo Quarter requirements. 
Below are the links to the documents posted by LAHC with a brief description from the document: 
Waterloo Requirements Table - This table provides a list of the Study Requirements and the studies that will be undertaken for the Waterloo precinct 
· Waterloo Summary of Studies - This document provides a summary of each of the studies that will be undertaken to meet the Study set by the Minister for Planning 
· Waterloo Study Requirements Summary – This is a summary of the Study Requirements. 
· Waterloo Consultants Table – This table provides a list of the studies that will be under taken to meet the Requirements and the technical consultants that will carry out the studies according to the Study Requirements. 
· Feedback Form - FACS is asking for feedback on the summary of studies. If you think there is something missing this is your opportunity to say so.

The City of Sydney have advised that at the REDWatch meeting they will deal with the density done well issue in the context of the study requirements. So the REDWatch meeting on Thursday at 6pm at The Factory should be helpful in formulating your response to LAHC on the adequacy of the studies.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Waterloo and other State Significant Development sites

Last week the NSW Ministers for Housing and Social Housing - Anthony Roberts and Pru Goward - announced that Waterloo has been nominated as a State Significant Precinct. This is the third time the idea of State Significant Developments has come up in an area that includes large tracts of land owned by the Land and Housing Corporation - the others being Riverwood North and the Ivanhoe Estate.

The Ministers explained State Significant Precincts as "areas where the NSW Government takes the lead role in the approval of planning proposals, which are of state or regional significance due to their social, economic and environmental characteristics."

We've previously said, in relation to Riverwood:
State Significant Precinct's are a creature of planning law - specifically the State Environmental Planning Policy (State Specific Precincts) 2005. Determining an area to be a State Significant Precinct allows the NSW Government to override local government planning processes by either adjusting applicable Local Environmental Plans (as has happened with areas around Macquarie Park), or adjusting the SEPP to include zoning and planning controls within the document itself (as has happened with the Redfern-Waterloo area). More information about State Significant Precincts can be found in this document: here.
Colleagues at Shelter NSW have since drawn our attention to a 2017 amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 - at clause 10 of schedule 2. This provides that a project to develop land identified as a Land and Housing Corporation Site that is within the State Significant Development Sites Maps will qualify as a State Significant Development if the project is carried out on behalf of the Land and Housing Corporation and has a capital investment value of more than $20 million.

That is, if land on public housing sites within a State Significant Development Site is to be "recycled" - as is the current buzzword - at a cost of $20 million or more, the NSW Government gets to oversee the planning process, rather than local government. This would also apply to land that is vacant, as long as it owned by the Land and Housing Corporation and falls within the State Significant Development Sites Map in the SEPP.

At the moment, there's not a lot of land outside of the Waterloo and Ivanhoe areas that would meet this criteria. But as we can see from the Riverwood North announcement of late last year, it's not out of the question that Government will, from time to time, seek to pull land on which public housing estates are built into this State Significant Developments scheme.

We're told that the Riverwood North site straddles a couple of different Local Government Areas, and that's what makes it necessary to treat is as a State Significant Precinct. No such concern seems to apply to the Ivanhoe Estate, or the land at Waterloo. In fact, where the Waterloo site is concerned, the Ministers' announcement says:
“Proposals to rezone the land will be assessed under a new collaborative arrangement between the Department of Planning and Environment and the City of Sydney Council, reflecting a commitment to work together to ensure good planning and design outcomes.”
Overriding a local council's planning mechanisms and then entering into a new "collaborative arrangement" to rezone and redevelop is an interesting move. We wonder if this commitment to working together comes in the form of a binding agreement, with clear lines of delegation?

Two other matters of importance to note from last week's announcement:
Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said the Department of Family and Community Services would spearhead the future redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate through a series of master planning workshops, which will be held over the next 12 months.
So residents can expect to be consulted by FACS, on planning. And:
“Under the Communities Plus program, the revitalisation of Waterloo will see no loss of social housing dwellings and a new community of social, affordable and private housing,” Ms Goward said.
So a further commitment to retain the current level of social housing in the area, as part of increasing density.

Friday, March 17, 2017

2,200 "new" dwellings from the Social and Affordable Housing Fund

Last week the NSW Government announced the first new projects to be delivered by the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF). This follows a lengthy process after a short-list was announced just under a year ago.

Details of 2,200 new social and affordable housing dwellings have been announced as follows:
  • BaptistCare NSW & ACT – 375 homes for older people in housing stress and at risk of homelessness and 125 homes for single parent families with a focus on women impacted by domestic violence (@ 70% social housing, 30% affordable housing)
  • Compass Housing Services Co Ltd – 600 homes for tenants that are close to support services and infrastructure (@ 81% social housing, 19% affordable housing)
  • SGCH Sustainability Limited – 300 homes for tenants with tailored support coordination services and quality dwellings close to services and infrastructure (@ 70% social housing, 30% affordable housing)
  • St Vincent de Paul Housing – 500 homes to general and older aged tenants (@ 71% social housing, 29% affordable housing)
  • Uniting – 300 homes for people aged over 55 without children at home (@ 70% social housing, 30% affordable housing)
The projects include a number of regional sites but the announcement provides no clear insight into exactly who will be building what, and in which region. However an infographic provided with the Premier's press release (see below) gives some indication of where the projects will be located:
  • 696 dwellings in Hunter New England
  • 369 dwellings in Nepean Blue Mountains
  • 327 dwellings in South Western Sydney
  • 288 dwellings in Northern Sydney, Sydney and South Eastern Sydney
  • 84 dwellings in Western NSW, Murrumbidgee and the Far West
  • 80 dwellings in Northern NSW and the Mid North Coast
  • 63 dwellings in Southern NSW and Illawarra Shoalhaven
  • (Note - that doesn't quite add up to 2,200, there are 294 dwellings missing. But the infographic says St Vincent de Paul and St George Community Housing are finishing 294 sites across NSW. Does this mean the SAHF is also funding projects that were already under construction?)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Millers Point ... time to reflect

From Friends of Millers Point website

The start of a new year allows time to reflect upon what has gone before us. Here are two great references to earlier days in The Rocks and Millers Point.

Harvey Volke was awarded a posthumous Master of Philosophy from the University of Sydney following his unexpected death in 2005. He was very active in both Shelter NSW and the Tenants' Union of NSW. The first chapter in his Master's thesis looks at The Rocks and Millers Point in the years 1900 to 1939. Volke concludes:
This early experiment in public housing in New South Wales was clearly not very extensive, nor was it entirely satisfactory. A key reason for this is that it may well have been placed in the wrong hands.
Volke provides fabulous documentation. His thesis also looks at Daceyville and Erskineville. Read his thesis here.

And for a look at more recent times, one can’t go past Housing NSW, 'Millers Point Oral History Project: Summary Report', 2007, written by Frank Heimans for Housing NSW. Here you read:
Millers Point … has a very integrated community who love living there and have a sense of belonging and allegiance to the place. … The residents have a rich reservoir of memories of living at the Point, going, in some cases, as far back as six generations. They were born, worked, lived and died in the houses at Millers Point. They also have a strong sense of history and heritage. It’s a community within a community where everyone knew each other through work and place of living.
This publication was removed from the Housing NSW website around the time that the sale of all social housing in Millers Point was announced, but it remains in the public domain here.

And now to the present … 2017 commences with Gladys Berejiklian, our new Premier, reviewing some of the Baird government's more contentious policies. Read about this here. One decision that she also should revisit is the sale of all social housing stock in Millers Point. It is not too late to retain some of Millers Point and the Sirius Building for social housing, so that Millers Point remains a mixed community and not a ghetto for the wealthy.

Here’s an update for February 2017 on what is happening with the sales program and the social housing tenants being relocated. We update the previous blog.

McGrath has commenced 2017 year’s sales with 6 blocks each comprising 4 units that provide a selection of 2 and 3 bedrooms. The 6 blocks are 38 to 40A and 50 to 68A High Street. The price guide for each block is $4,800,000. For more information, check the media release here and McGrath’s website here

At the meeting of Millers Point Estates Advisory Board on 1 February 2017 Family & Community Services Housing NSW reported:
  • 399 tenancies in the portfolio. 
  • 368 have been vacated. 
  • Of the 31 remaining tenancies (numbering 43 tenant and household members) to be relocated: 
    • 8 (numbering 10 tenant and household members) are from FACS Housing NSW and involve 2 approved for moving into alternative accommodation within Millers Point and 6 approved for moving outside of Millers Point. 
    • 21 (numbering 30 tenant and household members) are from FACS Housing NSW and remain unallocated 
    • 2 (numbering 3 tenant and household members) are from Little Real Estate and remain unallocated. 
  • 4 of the 31 remaining tenancies (covering 6 tenant and household members) are in the Sirius Building and of these: 
    • involves 1 approved for moving into alternative accommodation outside of Millers Point. 
    • 3 remain unallocated. 
  • 28 properties in Millers Point were set aside for remaining tenants and household members. Of these, 12 are occupied by 11 tenancies, 2 are unoccupied but allocated, 5 are unoccupied but holding pending decision and 9 remain unallocated. 
At the beginning of the process 579 tenant and household members were to be relocated. Altogether 546 tenant and household members have either vacated or are committed to moving, with a further 33 still uncommitted to moving.

You will recall that, in the first half of 2016, Family and Community Services (FACS) Housing commenced making two formal offers to those residents who remained. If tenants refused these offers, they had the option of appealing to the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) for a recommendation that such offers were unreasonable. FACS Housing is not bound by HAC's recommendation.

Where the tenant refuses formal offers which are deemed reasonable by FACS Housing, then FACS Housing must follow the process set out under Sections 148 to 151 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. These sections are read together with the procedure approved by the Minister which may be found on FACS Housing website here. You will find a summary of this process here.
The Tenants Union of NSW understands that, as of mid- February 2017, a number of 'Notices of intention to issue a Notice of Termination' have been issued. Once this process has been set in motion, the subsequent steps set out in the procedure approved by the Minister follow within a short period of time.

[Updated 14 February 2017]

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Millers Point Update December 2016

Rev Fred Nile and local MP Alex Greenwich join Millers Point residents at their Christmas Party
This is an update on the previous blog.

On 31 October 2016 Shelter NSW and the Tenants' Union of NSW held a forum on 'Large-scale relocations of tenants in public housing - learning from tenants' experience'. You may check out the two main presentations on the Shelter NSW website. Professor Alan Morris spoke to his brief, entitled ‘A Contemporary Forced Urban Removal: The Displacement of Public Housing Residents from Millers Point, Dawes Point and the Sirius Building by the New South Wales Government’ and Paul Vevers from the NSW Government’s Family and Community Services replied to his report. You can read both presentations here.

On 26 November 2016 Millers Point residents and friends enjoyed a concert called ‘Sing for Joy’ with two choirs. The concert also saw the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the film called ‘Forced out’.

Keep up-to-date on the campaign to save the Sirius building here. You can read about the pending court case here.

Update on the statistics...
You will find the breakdown of properties, tenancies and number of resident at the start of the sale process in SGS Economics & Planning, 'Millers Point and The Rocks: An alternative way forward', Final report, August 2014, Table 1 (Social housing breakdown), p 4. At the outset there were 293 properties, 543 tenancies, 410 occupied tenancies and 590 tenants and household members. Along the way, Darling House, an aged care facility, also was sold.

At 1 December 2016 133 properties have been sold for $348.56M with a median sale price of $2.39M and sales in the range $1.54M and $12.30M. (The top price was for a block of 12 one-bedroom apartments covering 7 properties sold in one line.) Based upon sales to date, an updated estimate of funds to be received from these sales is $677.21M.

The stamp duty owed to the NSW Government from existing sales is a further $18.13M or just under 5% of total revenue from sales and stamp duty combined.

There are still 161 properties to be sold, including 79 in the Sirius building. (This figure includes 28 units in a fewer number of properties where sales were ‘deferred’ and the remaining residents at this time given an option of applying for tenancies in these units.)

Here’s the NSW Government Property’s latest media release on Millers Point.

At the meeting of Millers Point Estates Advisory Board on 16 November 2016 Family & Community Services Housing NSW reported:
  • 399 tenancies in the portfolio.
  • 358 have been vacated.
  • Of the 41 remaining tenancies (numbering 59 tenant and household members) to be relocated:
    • 11 (numbering 17 tenant and household members) are from FACS Housing NSW and involve 5 residents approved for moving into alternative accommodation within Millers Point and 6 approved for moving outside of Millers Point.
    • 28 (numbering 39 tenant and household members) are from FACS Housing NSW and remain unallocated
    • 2 (numbering 3 tenant and household members) are from Little Real Estate and remain unallocated 
  • 7 of the 41 remaining tenancies (covering11 tenant and household members) are in the Sirius Building and of these: 
    • 2 involve residents approved for moving into alternative accommodation, with 1 within Millers Point and 1 outside of Millers Point.
    • 5 remain unallocated.
  • 28 properties in Millers Point were set aside for remaining tenants and household members. Of these, 15 remain unoccupied. 
Altogether 520 tenant and household members have vacated, with a further 17 committed to moving and 42 still uncommitted to moving.
Postscript ...
The principal real estate agency which has been helping the NSW Government empty Millers Point of its social housing tenants is McGrath Real Estate. You may recall that two years ago McGrath’s then chief executive, John McGrath, named Millers Point as his 'top pick' in the company's annual report. And, between August 2014 and December 2016 McGrath Real Estate sold 103 properties in Millers Point for in excess of $302 million. They are selling many more ... doing their bit to turn Millers Point into an enclave for the wealthy in a more and more divided city.

So it is interesting to hear what McGrath's chairperson, Cass O'Connor, told investors at their recent Annual Meeting: ‘When our society's teachers, nurses, police and emergency services personnel cannot afford to live in the communities they serve, housing affordability can very quickly become a factor in social and economic dislocation.’

Monday, November 28, 2016

Proposed rezoning of Arncliffe, Banksia and Cooks Cove

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is seeking feedback on their proposed Bayside West Precincts Land Use and Infrastructure Strategy, including through an online survey here.

From the Planning and Environment website:
The Bayside West Precincts Land Use and Infrastructure Strategy is now on exhibition until 28 February 2017. We are keen to hear more about what you think is important for the precinct and the strategy.
And in a media release today, Social Housing Minister Brad Hazzard suggests this includes plans to "boost social housing in Arncliffe" with the proposed redevelopment of a Land and Housing Corporation site. The proposal would see 142 one, two and three bedroom public housing dwellings demolished to make way for up to 600 new private, affordable and social housing dwellings, using the Communities Plus renewal model.

The full media release is reproduced below:
More social and affordable housing and new private housing is on the way with the proposed redevelopment of a Land and Housing Corporation site in Arncliffe. 
Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard said sites big and small across the state were being redeveloped under the Communities Plus program. 
“We are taking tired old housing in Arncliffe, partnering with the private sector and community housing providers to redevelop it at no cost to taxpayers – and getting 30 per cent more new social housing, along with affordable and private housing. 
“It’s a win-win for existing tenants who will get the new homes and for vulnerable families and individuals on the waiting list needing new homes. 
“All the evidence is that mixed communities deliver better social outcomes and residents of Eden Street, Arncliffe will benefit from the new opportunities coming their way.” 
The proposed rezoning of the site is part of a larger exhibition by the Department of Planning and Environment of a proposed rezoning to precincts within Arncliffe, Banksia and Cooks Cove. 
The site currently has 142 social housing units, a mix of studios, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom homes. Under new proposals, the site could be re-zoned and replaced with a mix of up to approximately 600 private, affordable and social housing dwellings. 
Mr Hazzard said housing officers had great experience helping vulnerable tenants through temporary relocations, before tenants moved back on site into new homes. Tenants will be assisted and kept informed of timelines, and are encouraged to view the draft plans and give their feedback. 
Communities Plus will deliver up to 23,000 new and replacement social housing dwellings, 500 affordable housing dwellings and up to 40,000 private dwellings over a 10 year period, in a $22 billion investment program with the private and not-for-profit sectors. 
Other major sites already announced as part of the Communities Plus program include Ivanhoe, Telopea, Riverwood and Waterloo.

Tenants money builds affordable housing

A recent media release from the Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard, refers to the NSW Government committing $270million to affordable housing projects during the first four rounds of the now discontinued National Rental Affordability Scheme.

A portion of that $270million comes from tenants' money.

Pages 28 and 29 of the Rental Bond Board's 2015/16 Annual Report show grants and subsidies in the amount of $2.5million going to NRAS in both 2015 and 2016.

The Minister's media release is reproduced here in full:
Some Sydneysiders who have been struggling to rent have been able to move into brand new affordable housing in Sydney’s west, paying rents at least 20 per cent below the market rate. 
Minister for Family and Community Services and Social Housing, Brad Hazzard has officially opened the new Bridge Housing development at the Bungarribee estate in Blacktown. 
“The NSW Government has forged very close ties with the Community Housing Sector, both in the provision of social housing and affordable housing, and I am delighted that Bridge Housing has been able to support so many people with this development,” Mr Hazzard said. 
CEO of Bridge Housing, John Nicolades, said “We are delighted to have completed our first major affordable housing development, providing 65 well designed and energy efficient homes to families struggling in Sydney’s difficult housing market.
“We have another two projects that will deliver a further 47 affordable homes by December 2016.”
Bridge Housing’s $25 million development has been built on land purchased from UrbanGrowth NSW in 2013, with the support of $1.8 million in FACS funding and incentives and funds from the Commonwealth through the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). 
New figures from FACS shows that a record 1,252 new affordable rental homes were delivered under the NRAS in 2015-16, bringing the total number to 4,653.
NSW committed around $270 million during the first four NRAS rounds, with NSW’s contribution attracting over $1 billion in additional funding commitments from Community Housing Providers and private sector investors.
Thirty-one of the homes owned by Bridge will be permanent affordable housing; thirty-four have been sold to private investors to help fund the project, and are leased as affordable housing for the next 10 years.