By 2036, the population of Sydney is projected to grow by more than two million people and an extra 725,000 homes will be needed to meet this increase.
Sydney is a great place to live and visit with its iconic landmarks and natural environment, and it’s important to ensure that there is open space to enjoy for locals and tourists now and in the future.
More than 90 per cent of Sydney’s residents live within a five to 10 minute walk of green space and the latest Sydney Open Space audit shows the total amount of open space across Greater Sydney has increased by nearly 40,000 hectares (from 550,784 in 2003 to 589,494 in 2014).
What is the Department of Planning and Environment doing?
The Metropolitan Greenspace Program (MGP) is administered by the Greater Sydney Commission. The MGP supports local councils in Greater Sydney and on the Central Coast to improve open spaces, parks, bushland, natural areas, waterway corridors and tree-lined streetscapes in a network that connects our homes to centres, public transport, jobs and recreation.
Since 1990, over $41 million has been allocated to more than 600 projects. Funds are awarded to councils on a matching dollar-for-dollar basis.
During the 2015/16 financial year, the Department facilitated the transfer of 101 hectares to five councils in Sydney to be used only as open space. These councils were Bankstown, Blacktown, Gosford, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and Warringah.
The development of new communities is important in the supply of new homes and employment opportunities. But it also provides opportunities for open space.
The Department has included new or retained hectares of open space in its land releases and precinct plans.
The Wentworth Park rezoning included 3.9 hectares of open space and a $5 million NSW Government investment to build the new Peninsula Park at Wentworth Point, opening up the harbour foreshore to the community for the first time ever.
Amendments to planning policy for Penrith Lakes has secured waterway zone 80 hectares of waterways, 110 hectares of parklands and 118 hectares of environmental protection land.
The North West and South West Growth Centres biodiversity certification is achieving strong conservation outcomes. This has resulted in maintaining the protection of the 2,000 hectares of existing native vegetation within the growth centres while protecting 511 hectares of high environmental value lands outside over 12 sites.
A number of development conditions are placed on projects, ensuring that impacts are avoided, minimised or offset.
For example, in relation to WestConnex, and in consideration of issues raised by the community, a series of conditions have been set to provide new open public space; new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure; and strict environmental protections including: