The Sydney Fish Markets will be redeveloped into a high-rise precinct containing the equivalent number of dwellings as 10 of the residential towers slated for Barangaroo, government documents reveal.
Urban Growth has forecast up to 2760 new dwellings will be built at the Bays Market District, a thin strip of waterfront land encompassing the fish markets, car park and a boat dock.
The site is opposite Wentworth Park, where the Department of Education is building a “pop-up” school on a greyhound racetrack to house 300 primary students while Ultimo Public School is redeveloped into a high rise.
Greens MLC David Shoebridge expressed surprise at the residential density proposed for the fish markets, and said it was “mind-boggling” this population growth wasn’t being taken into account in the department’s planning for the inner city school.
This is a tiny footprint in which they are going to shoe-horn 10-and-a-half of those Barangaroo towers. There has been no transparency. If that did happen, it would overwhelm that part of the city,” he said.
The number of new dwellings slated for the fish market is more than double the dwellings recently built at the larger Harold Park site in Glebe.
“Although official housing projections have not been released, a potential outcomes document (provided by UrbanGrowth NSW to the Department of Education in 2015) indicates that up to 2760 dwellings could be located in the Bays Market District,” a department of education submission to a NSW parliamentary inquiry states.
Urban Growth chief executive David Pitchford told The Sun-Herald last year that apartments at the Sydney Fish Market could match the height of apartment towers in Pyrmont, and be built “over, around and on top of facilities that exist”, including the fish market and nearby boat sheds.
A map of the Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Program.
Pyrmont is already the most dense postcode in Australia, with 14,000 people per square kilometre. Residents have expressed concern to the upper house inquiry into city schools that schools and transport are not keeping up with the population explosion.
Brookfield Multiplex and Chinese developer Dahua previously made unsolicited proposals to develop the land around the fish market, but the Baird government rejected these to opt for an open tender, which is yet to be called.
The footprint of the Bays Market District was recently expanded by Urban Growth to include Wentworth Park as a recreation site.
An Urban Growth spokesman said it had no plans for housing on Wentworth Park, and aimed to “better connect Wentworth Park with the Bays Market District and surrounding areas, and to deliver improved public spaces, recreation and sporting facilities to the community”.
The Department of Education’s submission said its enrolment projections for Ultimo Public School have not included information on the Bays Precinct redevelopment, but it estimated that 200 extra primary school students would live in the Bays Market District, of which 115 would attend a public school.
“The departments of planning and education have failed to have the most basic coordination. The entire development of Ultimo Public School is happening without the benefit of a serious understanding of the enrolment surge that is coming,” said Mr Shoebridge.
Pyrmont community and business groups said the area was Australia’s equivalent to Silicon Valley and the NSW government was failing to provide the public schools needed to attract workers.