By Mick Roberts
An upgrade of Kings Cross library for more space, additional child care places, a community performance space inside the Burton Street Tabernacle and an upgrade of the Mary McDonald Centre will begin by 2010 in stage one of Council’s City East Community Facilities Strategy.
The strategy, developed through extensive consultation, will see an $8 million suite of community facility improvements within the next two years.
The redevelopment of Heffron Hall, redesign of Albert Sloss Reserve and relocation of the Kings Cross Early Health Centre to the Rex Community Centre would be investigated in stage two, with design and consultation to commence after 2010.
The plan follows a comprehensive review of community facilities in the City East area last year which identified a need for more long day care centres, more library space, activities for older people, artist studios and support for performing arts.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the City East Facilities strategy will increase the number of community facilities increase the range of community activities and increase the convenience for local residents.
The City East area surrounding the Kings Cross precinct is a diverse and vibrant community, Mayor Moore said.
The small, but highly populated area with more than 24,000 residents is expected to increase to over 28,000 by 2011.
The current population density is 10 times that for metropolitan Sydney. Fifty three per cent of people live in 1-bedroom flats and 22 per cent of people aged over 55-years.
The number of children under four-years-old has risen by 14 per cent in the past few years and there is a high demand for children’s services.
“The City East facilities proposal is about planning improved services for an increasing, changing population and taking positive action now,” Cr Moore said.
Each major project will be subject to further community consultation and be funded through the City of Sydney’s Capital Works budget.
The City of Sydney is currently undertaking and has completed a range of projects across the City East area which the City East facilities proposal will build upon.
City staff and a consultant from CRED Community Planning conducted a strategic and comprehensive review of all of the City’s facilities and services in the City East Area including libraries, childcare centres, community offices, halls, aged and youth centres.
The review also considered transport and access between services and facilities and the changing demographics of the City East area. The City’s consultant and staff talked with service providers, residents and representatives from residents’ groups to discuss the research and proposals.
Following the review, a proposal to increase the number of City services and facilities for City East was developed and presented to Councillors and the community.
The proposals were presented for feedback at a workshop on December 1 2007 attended by more than 100 people from the City East Area (Darlinghurst, East Sydney, Potts Point, Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay and Woolloomooloo).