Canterbury City Community Centre, LAKEMBA NSW, made the following submission on the project:

Revised Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy

Canterbury City Community Centre is a not-for-profit community organisation based in Lakemba and serves the diverse communities in the Canterbury-Bankstown and Inner West local government areas. Our motto is Community Building Community and we work closely with local communities to develop and deliver programs which meet local needs and foster inclusion, harmony and an improved quality of life. The Centre’s main office is located at 130 Railway Parade Lakemba, but also manages the Cottage at 28 Croydon St Lakemba, the Community Garden, Jubilee Reserve Lakemba and the Men’s Shed, Campsie.

This submission to NSW Department of Planning has been prepared after reviewing the revised plans for the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor and the separate precinct areas of Lakemba and Wiley Park. The submission is also based on discussions with two of our local resident groups, Environment@Lakemba and Lakemba Ladies Lounge. The points below summarise the main concerns of our Centre and local community members.
1. Density and Affordability of Proposed Housing Development
Lakemba is already very densely populated with a large number of 3 story apartment blocks with 2-bedroom units housing families with 4 -5 children, or two families sharing one apartment. The Report oeHousing, Children and Families” highlighted the desire for local families to remain in the area for cultural and social reasons, was becoming more and more difficult as rents continue to rise. Families are often ‘downsizing’ to stay in the area, reducing from a 3 bedroom to 2-bedroom unit with several siblings sharing 1 bedroom or families sharing an apartment to reduce housing cost.
The main concerns are the impact of the increasing density, knowing that given the above, households are likely to be double or more the size than what is being forecast, placing enormous stress on already a lack of community, recreational and basic infrastructure facilities.
In addition, housing affordability has been highlighted as a major concern, with many families concerned they will not be able to afford to rent, let alone purchase in the new developments. According to the 2016 Census approximately 49% of households are renting in Lakemba and they have one of the lowest household incomes in Metropolitan Sydney, making them extremely vulnerable to rent increases.
As well, the Benevolent Society Index of Wellbeing for older Australians used 5 indices of wellbeing " participation, education, health, resources, and wealth and housing. Housing stress contributed the greatest weight to the overall index. Lakemba-Wiley Park was the area with the 5th lowest well-being score in NSW for older people.
If there is to be additional housing it needs to take into consideration these concerns and ensure that developments provide at least 10-15% low cost rental housing and given to social housing organisations to manage.
Current heights highlighted are also too high. For example, the proposal for a 14-20 story building on Croydon St, adjacent to the Community Garden and Reserve, would have a negative impact on users due to the shade created and reduce the village like community feel of Lakemba. Keeping heights of buildings as they currently are of 3 " 4 stories was a strong recommendation of most of the people we spoke to.

2. Insufficient community, recreational and sporting facilities
Our Centre does not even appear on the map and it is the only generalist neighbourhood centre in Lakemba. In addition, there is already a huge lack of facilities in the area given the size and needs of the population. While it was mentioned by NSW Dept. Planners that this ‘smaller’ type of infrastructure was a local Council responsibility through the collection of Section 94 funds or developers in kind contributions, recent developments in the local area have not led to a range of increased, accessible, multi-purpose built facilities, but rather a ‘community meeting room’ tucked away in a housing development that the general community (those living outside the housing development) don’t even know exists, or if they did don’t and can’t access it. With the level and scale of development proposed in an already densely populated, disadvantaged and culturally diverse community with many new migrant and refugee arrivals from overseas, community and recreational facilities that deliver services to young children, families, young people and the elderly are vital to the well-being and health of individuals and the community.
Increased community services must be local, purpose-built, funded, meet the needs of the community and provide services that are free or low cost so that the local community are able to access them. In 2011 Canterbury LGA scored 922.0 on the SEIFA index of disadvantage, making it the 3rd most disadvantaged Local Government Area across Metropolitan Sydney.
3. Open Space, Parks and Public Spaces
Lakemba and Wiley Park have a lack of local parks and open-spaces to cater to the needs of the current community, let alone one that will support the population numbers proposed in the future. The current plans identify Jubilee Reserve for improved open space, however, current plans identify the vacant property adjacent to Jubilee Reserve for a 14- 20 story residential development, rather than for increased open space. Gardeners and local park users would support the purchase of this vacant land for extra park land, as it would improve open space and parklands in the area. Our Centre manages the Community Garden of 30 local plot holders who are concerned that the new proposed height would have a massive negative impact on them and other park users due to shading, as well as take away from the community feel and character of the area, as other apartment blocks surrounding the park are single story or double story.
The two pocket parks at Fairmount Reserve and Hampden Reserve are very popular with women and families flocking to these spaces in the afternoons and weekends. More of these open, accessible parks with seating, BBQ areas, playgrounds, as well as activities for young people are needed and would be vital with increased density. Other public spaces such as the Plaza near the Station or Railway Pde, are dominated by men. The proposal to create a plaza near the station would need to be sensitive to the needs of women and young children by creating spaces where they feel comfortable through placing of children’s playground, seating and tables away from more public exposure and separate to where men might congregate.
The Linear Park was universally unpopular as a means of creating more green space given its limited width and the fact that no seating or general ‘park facilities” would be available, but more importantly due to the fact it is wedged between a train-line and major road. Women said they would not feel safe taking their children to this space, or giving permission for children to go there on their own, given its location and safety issues so close to a busy main street.

4. Pedestrian Safety and Parking Concerns
Lakemba has several dangerous intersections and is already a very high traffic area. Crossings such as the main intersection of The Boulevarde and Haldon Streets, as well as Railway Pde and Haldon Streets are notoriously dangerous. Pedestrian safety has been identified as a major issue of concern by residents and visitors to Lakemba. Parking is also a massive concern for residents, with people noting that even the current increase of the population due to small scale residential developments has had a noticeable negative impact on their street with increased traffic and inability to find parking either close to home or the local shops. This is made even made more significant by the fact that recent census data and talking with local residents indicates that many households do not have a car and walk to attend our programs, indicating that local streets will not be able to cope with even a minor increase in traffic as well as being more dangerous for pedestrians.

In conclusion, the revised draft plan of the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor will increase the density of living in Lakemba and surrounding suburbs far beyond what is calculated by the NSW Department of Planning due to overcrowding that we already know exists due to the reasons outlined above. Given this, the lack of future guaranteed low-cost housing, and the lack of community services, recreation facilities, parks, and open spaces, combined with the insecurity that these will be provided in the future through Section 94 funds, we recommend that the NSW Dept. of Planning dramatically reduce the development planned for the local area, by reducing floor levels to a maximum of 5 -6 stories to ensure the well-being, inclusion, health and safety of individuals and the local community of Lakemba, Wiley Park and surrounding areas.