Monday 11th of December 2023

the sydney fish market...


Internal documents about how to spin overdevelopment concerns surrounding the Sydney Fish Markets site have been accidently uploaded online by the NSW Government.


Key points:
  • The internal NSW Government documents included a section on "contentious issues"
  • Moving the Sydney Fish Markets is being fast-tracked
  • The internal documents reveal community concerns about overdevelopment in the area


The "Media Pitch" includes a section titled "Background (for internal use only)" which refers to the Community Reference Group for Blackwattle Bay.

It says the group "includes stakeholders who can be vocal in their insistence on extensive community consultation and have strong working relationships with the City of Sydney".

The document was prepared for today's announcement that the State Government has given the go-ahead for the construction of the new $750 Million Sydney Fish Markets at Blackwattle Bay, adjacent to the existing site.

It says the project, which is set to be finished in 2024, will be fast-tracked. 

The internal talking points say: "There are community concerns that approving the move ... will allow the current site to become over-developed with high rise towers."


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Gus can say that the project offered people a choice of three redevelopment proposals with various options of parkland, low level buildings, warehouse style buildings and this proposal with high rise. The option that Gus voted for was the low level "curvy" atmosphere with more parklands (option 2 on the list). The voting platform seems to be now closed to the public. 


The Sydney fish market which is an "international destination" has been suffering a bit by neglect for many years and the general overall look of the new place seems to be in line with people friendly activities. The new look fish market seems to be architecturally in line with the Marrickville Library which has been a success in this regard. Hopefully the vendors will find their happy spaces there... 

Beware of the seagulls though. Pelicans welcome. 


New look fish market


the boxy proposal...



This was the worst of the proposals...


Picture at top, mudcrabs at the Sydney Fish Market, by Gus Leonisky.

copying an old dud boxy proposal...

The picture above showing the high rise redevelopment of the Sydney Fish Market site is a repeat of this one which luckily, thanks to green bans (thank you Jack Mundey), never happened. Click on the picture to get the link... Let's hope the high rise plan for the SFM is thrown in the bin...




selling the family jewels...

An independent review into the Sydney Harbour Foundation Trust has recommended against long-term plans to transfer the control of historic sites into private hands.

The review, to be released on Thursday, effectively rules out proposals – such as one from art collectors Tony Berg and Danny Goldberg to invest as much as $100 million to convert all of Cockatoo Island into an "art island".


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NSW government pickpockets the workers...

Sydney's commuters will have their public transport fares halved as long as they travel outside peak periods, in sweeping changes to the Opal fare system taking effect from July 6. 


Key points:
  • The discounts will continue for three months
  • After that, a permanent discount of 30 per cent will be introduced on busses and light rail 
  • Commuters are being urged to "retime" their day as coronavirus restrictions ease


The changes, which will affect bus, train, metro and light rail services but not ferries, come amid increasing patronage on public transport as coronavirus restrictions ease across the state.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said people who travelled long distances would save the most.

He said the shake-up was designed to encourage commuters to "retime their day" as thousands of people transition back into workplaces and return to on-campus learning.

Earlier this week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced increases to the number of people who would be allowed on public transport services, after capacity was cut during the coronavirus crisis due to social-distancing.


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What they don't tell you is that the peak-hour periods have been extended by a couple of hours... Off peak? Think again...

but what about the fish?

Endangered fish species are being routinely sold to Australian and international consumers thanks to a little-known feature of environmental laws that allows for the species to be commercially fished.

Under Australian environmental laws, marine species that are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered are classified as “no take” species, meaning they cannot be sold or exported.

But species such as blue warehou, eastern gemfish and scalloped hammerhead, which are eligible for listing, are instead categorised as “conservation dependent”, meaning they can be caught in Australian waters and sold in shops, fish markets and restaurants, or exported, despite being considered threatened. 

Marine conservationists have long argued for the removal of this category from Australia’s national environment laws — the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act — but its existence has flown beneath the radar for most seafood consumers.

“Most people assume that everything caught in Australia is sustainable,” said Tooni Mahto, a marine biologist and a campaign manager for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“People work on the assumption that anything endangered is not for sale.”

Nicola Beynon of Humane Society International said the category was there for “political expediency”.

“It’s a special category just for commercially fished species to avoid giving them protection that they actually qualify for because they’re commercially valuable,” Beynon said.


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powerhouse bullshit from ms berejiklian...

The construction union has weighed in to the campaign to save two heritage buildings slated for demolition to make way for the new Powerhouse Museum at Parramatta.


Key points:
  • Two Victorian period buildings will be flattened to make way for the Powerhouse Museum
  • The construction union has urged the State Government to listen to dissenting residents
  • NSW Premier has stood by the plans to bulldoze, citing lack of community engagement


CFMEU NSW announced a green ban over the buildings and called on contractors to abide by it.

The move intensifies a campaign to preserve the buildings — Willow Grove, a two-storey heritage villa, and St George's Terrace, a row of modest Victorian period homes.

Darren Greenfield, Secretary of the CFMEU's Construction Branch, has called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to save the properties.

"These green bans mean no work can be done to destroy these historically significant sites," Mr Greenfield said.

"We hope the Government listens to the people of this community, which are many, that are against the destruction of these buildings.

"We will be here standing in defence of these buildings for whatever it takes into the future."

Suzette Meade from the North Parramatta Resident's Action Group said people would stand firm with the union.

"The Premier should be under no illusion that if a finger is laid on any of these buildings, the community of Parramatta and heritage lovers from all over New South Wales, will put themselves in front of machinery to save them."

Cheryl Bates from the National Trusts Parramatta Branch said environment and heritage impact statements identified the properties at "highly significant" to the Parramatta area, but didn't investigate their adaptive reuse.

The Premier deflected a question about the fate of the buildings earlier today, saying "we've made our position on that clear from the beginning".

Last February Ms Berejiklian told Parliament that "…we asked every single person who bid for the project to put forward a proposal that protected that heritage house.

"Unfortunately, that was not able to occur."


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WHAT? The government did not insist that the historical cottage be preserved because : "…we asked every single person who bid for the project to put forward a proposal that protected that heritage house... Unfortunately, that was not able to occur."


WHAT BULLSHIT IS THAT???? As well the original location of the Museum is a magnificent building of an old power station and the Museum SHOULD NOT BE SHIFTED to Parramatta anyway. Build a new MAS exhibition place there should you wish, but keep the collection at the Ph Museum intact. Please! Please?...


Now watch the Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen tactics during the night — sending the bulldozers when no-one is looking... or a couple of kids with a petrol can and some matches...




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heritage museum alla berejiklian...



Another brilliant cartoon from Cathy Wilcox...


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reprieve... we approve...

Well we never! Premier Berejiklian’s reversal on the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum would do the famous Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci proud. Up on the bar she wobbles momentarily, steadies for stability and just when no one was expecting it . . . up and over she goes! For it was indeed an enormous backflip, in the pike position, degree of difficulty 2.3. . . though we are yet to see just how she lands, and just why. The only thing we can say for certain is that the Premier has at least shown she will listen to reason on a move that always seemed to lack logic, which is the good news. If she is in a listening mood, listening to logic on pill testing at summer music festivals should be the next step.



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a bit fishy...

The Berejiklian government’s plans to build 1500 apartments in towers up to 45 storeys at Blackwattle Bay would create a wall of high-rise buildings close to the foreshore, according to residents and the City of Sydney council.

The government’s development arm, Infrastructure NSW, on Friday published plans to redevelop the site of the old Sydney Fish Market - which is being shifted to a new building at the head of the bay in Sydney’s inner west.


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 "I would never have guessed that they would go for the worst option..." Gus Sarcasticus Leonisky...


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on "government land"...

Historians will scratch their heads. “There was a time,” they’ll say, “when Sydney voluntarily festooned itself with mysterious clumps of immense phallus-shaped objects, megalithic clumpages that cast this loveliest of climates into shadow and the glorious landscape into dullness and drudgery. More mysteriously still, this was during the reign of the first woman elected premier.”

I know. The phallic connotations of the skyscraper are both familiar and, at first glance, facile. But bear with.

The Blackwattle Bay master plan, released the other day by Planning Minister Rob Stokes, is just the latest in a long line of such shadowy clumpages. Some of Sydney’s once-pretty neighbourhoods, such as Burwood and Bondi Junction, have rushed into this with full council connivance. Others, such as Redfern, have had to be dragged by the hair. All are left trying to pretend that a sunless and windy local centre where even plastic turf struggles to survive is as loveable as a gentle, strollable one with sunny cafes and trees that actually grow.

The current fishmarket site is a drag-ee. It’s big. A 10-hectare J-shaped strip of post-industrial Blackwattle Bay waterfront, it is almost half the size of Barangaroo. Five years ago the minister declared it state significant, thus wresting it from the City of Sydney’s control. Now he proposes to rezone it for nine massive high-rise buildings between seven and 45 storeys.


Roughly a quarter of the land, nearest the Anzac Bridge, is privately owned. Naturally, this is where the blocky wall-buildings go, up to 26 storeys. The government locates the highest towers – the most towering profits – on its own land. It doesn’t use the term public land. Of course not. It calls this “government land”, as though it is its to exploit and dispose of at will.

This wall of towers will block views from many parts of Pyrmont and Glebe. It will send shadow, says the city council, as far as Glebe. And it will become yet another outbreak of anodyne nowhereness in a city whose precinctual flavours were once so enchantingly particular. Described by Lord Mayor Clover Moore as “a Trojan horse for … maximum developer profits” and by locals as a “wall of high-rise,” the blocky megaliths will stand shoulder-to-shoulder along the waterfront like so many lantern-jawed hatchet men.

Needless to say, there are many back-up studies. The plan reclines upon a pillow stuffed with expensive consultant reports: many hundreds of pages covering strategic context, geomorphology, local history (white and Indigenous), demographics, marine ecology blah blah, not to mention supposed consultation. Yet not one of these studies informs the plan in any way that enhances the outcome or benefits the community. Honestly, I don’t know why they bother.

Why pay the money? Why even have a department labelled “Planning”. Why pretend? Because, in all of these rezonings, all these rampaging clumpages from Blacktown to Bondi Junction, and within all the fluff and bother that surrounds them, there’s really just a single idea, a single descriptor, a single methodology.

The single methodology, cloaked as “market forces”, is let rip. The single descriptor is “hub”. And the single idea, inescapably priapic, the tower.

Hubs are everywhere. In inner Sydney alone, we have two recently planned “tech hubs” (one clump that includes the 40-storey Atlassian building at Central and another centred on the luckless Balmain Power Station). As well, Pyrmont peninsula is to become a “jobs and economic hub” and the whole of Greater Sydney is set to enjoy “the activation and promotion of unique night-time economy hubs” as well as being “Australia’s hub of finance, commerce and media”. Wollongong and Newcastle, meanwhile, are “coastal hubs”. And now dear old Blackwattle Bay is to morph into an “entertainment and cultural hub”.

What is a hub, exactly? Well, judging by the common thread here, it’s nothing more than a clump of towers – residential, commercial, mixed – designed to maximise profit.

Planning has no part in any of this. They might as well lose the overpaid bleaters and suckers, dismantle the department – sell it, even. Give the money to charity and deed all public lands to The Greater Sydney Brotherhood of Developers. They might as well say: Grab whatever you can, boys, build as high as you like. All good. Wink.


It won’t give us a city we can love, but it could not be any worse than the current hypocritical farce.

Professor Justin Hollander, of Tufts University, Massachusetts, recently told the American Planning Association that people living in dense cities are 40 per cent more depressed and 20 per cent more anxious than other populations. The solution is little more than planning’s core business: recognising the complexity of the human as a meaning-making, refuge-seeking, “wall-hugging” species that loves to walk, and building this into our cities.

The tower, which our government seems to regard as the only possible typology, opposes all that with the built form of hyper-masculine modernism. Its phallic morphology, its will-to-dominance, its aggressive exteriorisation and its emphasis on private over public and on the individual over the collective, all undermine any sense of interiority or refuge. The idea of the “hub”, with its centrifugal implications, can only exacerbate this.

There are other ways. Tall buildings can create garden courtyards, beloved parks, walkable neighbourhoods, intricate pathways, surprise connections, sudden views, change of pace. They can reward walking and connect us with each other. This task – counteracting private muscle with public benefit – is what some urbanists call “happy design”. I’d just call it planning.

Planning is something we urgently need. But with everyone – from government, planners, developers – in thrall to The Big Phallus, no one in Sydney is doing it.


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When governments (local, state and federal) consult with the "people", the "people" in the end decisions after a bit humouring set of public displays, usually mean developers, profit takers, concrete pumpers and real estate agents. I remember Jack Mundey and Clover Moore at a protest, somewhat allied against the development of Barangaroo... Jack was super-fierce but eventually Clover was "pragmatic". I guess there is more easy money for the city council to be made from "rates" than from having to sell tickets to an amusement park — or worse turn the land into a free maze of parklands for the future. And you can still have your parkland at the end "of the development", like a little lollie for having been vaccinated (ouch...). 


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