NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward has signalled she will back down on a controversial proposal to build a large sustainable garden on Pyrmont Bridge.
The project, called AMAZE and championed by Ms Goward with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA), proposed to build three sixty metre compost barges on the bridge.
A development application for the proposal was submitted to the City of Sydney Council for consideration in July.
Last week, Minister Goward told The Daily Telegraph she would not progress with the proposal.
This decision may have been related to a strong community backlash, both from local politicians and community groups.
Shadow Minister for Planning Luke Foley said he was pleased at the Minister’s decision to withdraw the proposal.
“I’m all for sustainability, but plonking a six metre wide, 180 metre long compost heap on the busy Pyrmont Bridge was simply planning madness,” Minister Foley said.
“The demise of Pru Goward’s compost dream is a humiliating defeat for the Planning Minister.”
City of Sydney councillor Linda Scott opposed the proposal based on its potential to increase congestion on the bridge, which is currently believed to be at or near capacity.
“The Pyrmont Bridge serves as a key pedestrian and cycle route for over 17,000 inner city residents and visitors each day. This development application, if approved, would have seen increased congestion on Pyrmont Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists who would have been forced into their cars,” said Cr Scott.
Cr Scott expressed relief at Minister Goward’s decision to back down on the proposal this week.
Another strong voice in opposition to the proposal is Bicycle NSW, a group representing the interests of cyclists.
Bicycle NSW spokesperson Sophie Bartho told City Hub she is pleased with recent developments.
“The proposal would reduce access to the shared path facilities, which would increase risks to pedestrians and cyclists. The whole proposal put pedestrians and cyclists at risk,” she said.
Ms Bartho said Bicycle NSW’s concerns also related to a lack of consultation between Bicycle NSW, SHFA and Transport for NSW.
“It was very alarming that the appropriate consultation never took place in regards to this proposal,” she said.
Minister Foley, Ms Bartho and Cr Scott all agreed that sustainability should be a priority when planning NSW transport infrastructure, but that Pyrmont Bridge was the wrong place to instigate these plans.
“We need to focus on sustainability but it’s very clear that this was just proposed in the wrong location.”
All three opponents of the proposal also agreed they would support the plan if it were moved elsewhere.
While Minister Goward did indicate she would back down on the proposal, the development application itself has not been officially withdrawn.
Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority told City Hub no decisions have been made as yet, and implied the cancellation of the project is not certain.
“SHFA is considering all options at this stage,” a spokesperson said.
“Due to difficulties with the planning approvals from the City of Sydney, SHFA missed the window in the growing season, and will have to postpone AMAZE for this year. SHFA is looking forward to working on AMAZE in the future and want to explore how to make it happen at another time.”
The spokesperson referred to the project as a “unique showcase of sustainable design”.
Cr Scott called on SHFA to officially withdraw the development application for AMAZE and abandon the project entirely.
“The Minister and Liberal State Government now need to deliver on this commitment and withdraw the proposal.”
This issue relates to a broader problem facing the local and state governments relating to transport infrastructure servicing the western harbour.
“We have a really serious problem with transport connecting Pyrmont to the city,” said Cr Scott.
“The City of Sydney needs to do some serious thinking about how that demand of people to walk and cycle into the city is met. It’s clear that Pyrmont Bridge is reaching capacity.”
“With the development of Barangaroo and the Bays Precinct, we will need a really strong new transport solution for that area.”
Minister Foley agreed.
“Improving connectivity between Sydney Harbour’s fast growing western waterfront and the CBD is a serious policy challenge.”
Minister Goward’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.