The Mayor was recently invited to a discussion at the Newtown RSL (I can't bring myself to call it Petersham RSL or worse, @Newtown), called by the Newtown Business Precinct to discuss the state of Newtown Station and surrounds. Railcorp, the RTA and the NSW Government were all invited, but only Deputy Premier and local member Carmel Tebutt showed up, representing, according to the organisers, the absent organisations. The Deputy Premier herself was quite clear (perhaps wisely) that she was not representing the government agencies, promising only to pass on any messages received. Also present were the mayor of half of Newtown (and Marrickville), Sam Iskandar, and Councillor John McInerney, representing Clover Moore, mayor of the other half of Newtown (and the City of Sydney).
Railcorp Property adjacent to Newtown Station
The meeting started with an effective presentation from the organisers, using photos similar to the above, highlighting what a shambles Newtown station was; and wanting to know what had happened to the NSW government promise of making Newtown Station the first all-access station in the state seat of Marrickvile (which covers most of Newtown).
A more general discussion was held on the run down state of surrounding properties, bus-stop over-crowding and the dangerous nature of high-speed King Street (outside of peak hours at any rate). Owners of local pub The Bank described the extensive delays caused to their renovations by the difficulties of negotiation with Railcorp, compulsory when renovating properties adjacent to Railcorp property.
Dead kebabery under the mayor's office on Railcorp property
The late arriving Deputy Premier had done her homework and was able to provide the latest information. In a nutshell:
Existing Railcorp plans for Newtown Station access (which ALP election promises were based on) basically consisted of dropping a lift down from the station entrance to the platform. * Further studies had concluded that this approach was not feasible due to the narrowness of the platform
A new plan was being prepared based on extending the entrance concourse further over the rail lines. This new solution would be significantly more expensive than that planned.
It was highly unlikely that Railcorp would spend any money cleaning up the area or making plans for the station and adjoining property while this process was ongoing - this in response to an audience suggestion to use them as artists galleries or cafes while plans were ongoing.
Next planning phase was due to complete mid-year (3-6 months) after which she would report back to the community on the scope of the latest plans.
Newtown Station and abandoned tram sheds
Questions were also asked about the future of the tram sheds and associated land. Apparently the sheds had been sold off by the previous government to a developer but the deal had gone bad and ended up in the courts. Any further decision on their future was pending the outcome of legal proceedings due 'soon'. I have my own idea on what could be done with this property which I will be sharing soon.
Tram sheds from Angel Street
Your mayor will be attending the follow meeting and will inform everyone of the outcome. In the meantime, if you've got any ideas on what should be done with the station and surrounding properties, including the tram sheds, please share them here.