Is Premier Gladys Berejiklian planning to demolish the huge $34 million, eight-storey Mosaic apartment block near Leumeah station?
I only ask because the artist’s impression for the state government’s high-rise plan for Leumeah shows the decade-old Mosaic block has vanished and been replaced by another building.
Another tower block is either to be built above the shops or on Wests Leagues Club car park (the perspective is tricky).
Parking spaces also aren’t needed any more and will be replaced by trees and outdoor umbrellas, and the owners of Leumeah shopping centre will spend millions of dollars revamping it, simply because the government artist wants them to.
Oh, and a mega-stadium is in the background, the money for which isn’t even in a pipeline to the pipeline.
The only thing missing from the government's plan is unicorns.
After I stopped laughing and picked myself up off the floor, and then saw all the other equally-mythical images for the stations between Glenfield and Macarthur – to be turned into tower block canyons that will make Liverpool look like child’s play.
The Premier’s Glenfield to Macarthur Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy has the support of Campbelltown Council, with many of the new councillors appearing to have faith that government art impressions are true.
Don't get me wrong…I would love to share their faith. I would love to believe that our ugly railway strips are to be revamped into colourful garden oasis surrounded by quality architecture for hard-working commuter families.
But I’m not new to watching state governments. Both as a journo and as a history buff, I can’t help going by the rock-solid track record of the past 50 years, and this is what will really happen:
1. Campbelltown Council will be forced to take row upon row of high-rise from day one – without any of the promised funding, gardens, infrastructure, or jobs.
2. If council or residents oppose any inappropriate proposal by a developer, the state government will laugh and ram it through anyway (ask the Scenic Hills).
3. Entire blocks will be designated “social housing”, meaning the horizontal “Houso” enclaves now being bulldozed will be replaced by new vertical enclaves.
4. The promised quality in the artists’ impressions will never materialise, with the Libs blaming Labor and Labor blaming the Libs.
5. While we deal with the future social consequences, the politicians and developers making the decisions will be enjoying their well-funded retirement in a beachside mansion somewhere else.
Camden and Wollondilly should take special note: this is your own futures. The latter can't even get a second high school for its kids, yet we are expected to believe similar artists impressions for a future Wilton.
Some of you might think I’m being a bit unfair, and that this government is more genuine than past governments. Hmmm…
The last time I spoke face to face with the Premier was at Campbelltown railway station in 2015 when she promised a huge new parking zone (the one that still doesn't exist in 2018.)
And this high-rise strategy takes in the Hurlstone farmlands at Glenfield that this government promised to protect as green space.
Year after year Macquarie Fields electorate gets $0 in the state budget, yet we are supposed to believe artworks of paradise-like settings.
And let’s not forget this government promised to hand big planning decisions back to local councils. Ha.
I’d have more faith in a unicorn.
HIGH-RISE 60KM FROM SYDNEY
A few months ago, I took a train to visit a family member on the Central Coast and saw the lush treescapes, parklands and plush homes around several upper North Shore stations such as Normanhurst and Cheltenham – 30km from Sydney.
No government plan for rows upon rows of high-rise there. Even closer to the city, at St Leonards, the tower blocks planned there are NOT being pushed by the Berejiklian government.
Yet the Berejiklian government does have a high-rise plan for Campbelltown stations – 60km from Sydney.
We’re obviously not the quality people found in the blue ribbon Liberal electorates on the north shore. Just some Labor Loserville.
If you think government planning decisions are based on facts and needs, you’re dreaming. It’s based on bribery and revenge.
For example, both myself and former mayor Paul Lake were assured that Campbelltown was getting a new super motor registry – until the electorate went back to Labor at the last election. Suddenly it vanished, the two motor registries we had were shut, and now drivers have to go across to the super motor registry built instead in the electorate of Camden Liberal MP Chris Patterson.
Camden and Wollondilly can also look forward to being screwed the same way if they stick with the Libs next election and we end up with a Labor government.
“Planning” is a joke.