Waterloo Public Housing Action Group
Following the NSW Government’s announcement of the Waterloo Metro Station, the Waterloo Redevelopment Precinct was identified as a State Significant Development to redevelop the area to accommodate the increased population the Metro Station is expected to service. A significant portion of the redevelopment precinct is covered by the Waterloo Public Housing Estate (the Estate), a large collection of public housing complexes situated within the inner Sydney city suburb of Waterloo, and plans have been announced to redevelopment the entire Estate into a mix of private and public housing, at a ratio of 70/30 respectively. The new Precinct will be redeveloped according to the Waterloo Redevelopment Precinct Master Plan (the Master Plan) developed by NSW Government, through Urban Growth.
Negotiations are currently underway between representatives of the estate, collectively organized as the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG) and NSW Land Housing Corporation (LAHC) to ensure the Masterplan considers the needs of the large existing community of tenants and to ensure a net positive outcome for both parties is achieved.
To ensure the needs of such a large number of tenants is captured, the WPHAG has established the Future Planning Centre (FPC) within the estate, and through the space, seek to capture the needs and desires of the tenants to be incorporated into the Masterplan.
Vigilanti have been assisting WPHAG in researching and documenting various aspects of the Estate in preparation for their formal submissions to LAHC. This includes consultating the needs and wants from the community of social housing residents, gathering community feedback on how the Estate should be redeveloped to be inclusive of the existing residents in the future and how to minimise impact on the community during the redevelopment process.
As part of our initial research and consultation with the community, we’ve found a strong desire to preserve and celebrate the contribution that the community gardens of the Estate have played in fortifying the community. In particular, the three largest gardens, Cook, Marton and Solander gardens, were established by community members over 20 years ago and stand as a symbol of the bond, spirit, and tenacity of the residents of Waterloo and embody their spirit of advocacy and self-improvement that the community takes pride in. The gardens are currently managed by a community run organisation, the Waterloo Residents Market Gardens Association.
In an effort to save the gardens and document their history, we worked in collaboration WPHAG and WRMGA to complete a full report and documentation of the history and contributions of the community gardens and the role they played in the history of the Estate, and propose strategies for how it should be preserved through the redevelopment.
This report was submitted to Land and Housing Corporation for consideration in developing their master planning proposals for the redevelopment of the Estate.
In May 2018, at the end of the initial official government community consultation period, also know as the Visioning period, a report was released by Kathy Jones Associates (KJA) of their community consultation methodology and results obtained.
During the Visioning process, WPHAG heard from members of the community that they were unsatisfied with the methods and activities conducted during the Visioning activities and they do not feel they have been adequately consulted. To ensure their views are heard, and their true wishes are communicated to the authorities, we worked with WPHAG to review the initial Visioning Report released by KJA, their methodologies and results, as well as communicate any ideas or requests WPHAG had obtained during their obtained in their own consultation activities.
These findings were compiled in a response report that was submitted to Land and Housing Corporation for consideration.
In August 2018, Community’s Plus first released their three master plan options for the redevelopment of Waterloo Estate. These three options were presented in a booklet, with three concept diagrams of the plans, a staging diagram, and some addition key facts and information. No further information was released by the authorities in relation to these diagrams, and the community was expected to be consulted beginning in late September.
We found that the community was not able to decipher any of the information contained within the booklet, nor were they able to comprehend the potential impacts of each of the three options, how they are different and how things will be different in the future.
Know this, WPHAG commissioned a team of pro-bono volunteers, led by ourselves, to review the contents of the booklet, the implications of the proposed master plan options, and how they will impact the community. The information must also be explained it in a way the community to ensure they understand exactly what the plans are proposing and prepare them for the upcoming consultations activities.
The plans were translated into a 3D model of each option, to allow us to communicate the proposed built form, and accompanying impacts to solar access, green space, and amenity. This turned out to be the most well received by the community and feedback showed 3D diagrams really helped them to understand the proposed plans.
WPHAG x Vigilanti’s official analysis and response to the Waterloo Estate State Significant Precinct Options Testing material and consultation process.
This extensive document details our analysis of the three master plan option proposed by UrbanGrowth for the redevelopment of the largest public housing estate in inner Sydney, the potential improvements and shortcomings of the consultation process up to the Redevelopment Options phase, and provides a detailed account of all events that occurred in time.
The report also details how WPHAG & Vigilanti have approached community consultation, how we were able to capture the unique stories and viewpoints in the process, and we were able to improve the capacity of the community in understanding the master planning process, key urban design considerations, and the direct impact of the future master plan on their every day lives.
The report concludes with 77 recommendations made over 10 categories that represent actionable changes to the proposed master plan to bring it in line with the wishes and vision of the current Waterloo Public Housing community.