Marrickville residents vote on their feet against Metro expansion

Originally published by http://www.altmedia.net.au

Marrickville is a unique community.

It’s very young community, with most residents falling under the age of 34 years. It’s diverse, with one of the largest Greek and Vietnamese communities in Sydney. It’s vibrant, with an ever-changing, ever-growing artistic scene.

It’s rare in the increasingly gentrified, increasingly overcrowded, busy, anonymous suburbs of Sydney that you come across a place where cafes are still frequented by locals (and the wait-staff know that you take your coffee long, black and with four sugars); where community markets are a place to while away the Saturday morning whilst collecting fresh produce for you and your neighbours, where picnics and music in the park are a regular occurrence.

Marrickville is one of the closest things to a self-sustaining community that Sydney offers. It has a library, markets, shopping centre, doctor’s surgery and a plethora of unique, speciality shops and galleries along its shopping strips. Sometimes described as a “bubble”, residents have almost everything they need within a 5 minute bike ride; and if greater choice is needed then Newtown is a short bus trip away.

This unique community is being threatened AMP capital who propose to double the size of the Metro to offer residents a “district shopping outlet”. If that truly is their intention, and AMP is driven by compassionate concern for Marrickville’s consumers, then it would have been useful to consult the residents of the area who are quite satisfied with their ample supply of clothes, services and fresh produce.

Last Saturday, residents rallied together in Enmore Park to send the message loud and clear that they do not want a Broadway-style shopping mall disrupting the equilibrium of their community. They gathered to say that they do not want a 56% increase in traffic, nor the lack of parking spaces or congestion that will accompany the proposed Metro expansion.

The real problem is arguably with the introduction of Part 3A by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure and Other Planning Reform) Act 2005 which takes the decision making process out of the hands of local councils and places the power firmly in the grasp of the State Government.

Put simply, it promotes a top-down approach that eliminates local communities from involvement in processes which will fundamentally affect them and the area in which they live.

This is what has happened in the case of the Marrickville Metro expansion proposal. The proactive and committed resistance demonstrated by local residents, business owners and councillors is testament to the strength of the community.

Make sure you have your say before the August 27 when the public exhibition of the Metro expansion will close. Write to the Department of Planning, your local member or submit an online response http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/

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