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Not a ‘NIMBY issue’: Concrete plant approved for Sydney’s Glebe Island

Nov 01, 2023

This was published 1 year ago

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Plans to build a concrete batching plant next to Anzac Bridge on Glebe Island have been approved, but only after an independent panel recommended changes and a series of conditions for the project in Sydney's inner west.

Residents have rallied against Hanson Australia's $22 million proposal to build the plant and a facility for handling construction materials across the water from hundreds of apartments in Pyrmont.

Hanson has been ordered to shrink the concrete plant it has proposed for Glebe Island east, next to White Bay. The Port Authority of NSW has approved a five-storey "multi-user facility" at the neighbouring site.Credit: NSW Planning Department

It was proposed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with an estimated 182 truck movements per hour.

Citing the strategic location of the project and its ability to facilitate construction of major infrastructure projects, the NSW Independent Planning Commission found it was "reasonable and acceptable".

But the panel acknowledged the project at Rozelle would "potentially result in noise, visual and other amenity impacts for the occupants of residential buildings in Jackson's Landing and Pyrmont, and users of the public domain".

Commissioners Annelise Tuor and Peter Williams imposed a time limit on the consent to 2040, shrunk the size of the concrete plant, and restricted ship deliveries to mostly between 6am and 10pm.

"The commission considers that subject to the imposition of these conditions, the matters raised in public submissions do not preclude the granting of development consent," they said in a decision last week.

Residents had argued the plant would increase the number of ships berthing at the island from four to six per year, to four to six per week. They said noise from the ships’ generators, engines and tugboats would disturb their sleep, while the trucks would "significantly" exacerbate traffic gridlock in an already severely congested area.

They also argued the height of the silos would be taller than the carriageway of the Anzac Bridge, which would disrupt views of the landmark, and worried the facility would spill dust, fumes and light into their apartments.

The commission said the structure encasing the 34-metre tall silos, which was expected to be an 85-metre long "metal clad rectangle" with a pitched roof, would have a significant and unreasonable visual impact.

David Gordon and Christopher Levy, of the Jacksons Landing Coalition, lobbied for a curfew on the facility.Credit: Kate Geraghty

They imposed a condition to reduce the size of the building so it stands no taller than the carriageway of the Anzac Bridge.

Jacksons Landing Coalition chairman David Gordon said the group, which represents residents of apartment blocks at Pyrmont, welcomed the conditions, which included a requirement for future noise level monitoring.

"They’ve listened to us," Mr Gordon said. "This has been characterised as a NIMBY issue, but we’ve always regarded it as a Sydney issue, and a Sydney Harbour issue.

"It's great to think ships coming into Sydney now won't be greeted by an absolutely obscene monstrosity in front of the Anzac Bridge."

Hanson says one million tonnes of aggregate will be shipped to the port facility each year to produce about one million cubic metres of concrete for major infrastructure projects in Sydney's CBD and inner suburbs.

The project is estimated to generate 90 construction jobs and 67 full-time operational jobs.

The plan to ramp up industrial activity at the port raised concerns the Berejiklian government's desire to maintain the working harbour was at odds with its longer-term vision to revitalise the Bays West precinct.

The commission found the government's plans made it reasonable to impose a time-limit on the project's consent to 2040.

"Previous strategic planning for the area identified this precinct as a potential innovation hub and a significant public domain involving a peninsula park and amphitheatre, which led to community expectations that future uses on Glebe Island would involve technological or commercial pursuits, rather than heavy industry," the commission said.

The government's draft place strategy for the Bays West precinct described Glebe Island East as an "integrated ports facility with elevated public domain", suggesting a "cap" could be built over the concrete plant for a park.

The commission said it gave "relatively little" weight to the strategy because there were no clear timeframes for when the plans might be finalised or come into effect.

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