There’s new info out about Sydney’s Central Barangaroo. Except it’s mostly baloney. I’d usually choose a different word to describe what the December Barangaroo enews says is an “exciting, diverse and active addition” to this huge 3-stage development on the western edge of Sydney’s CBD, but I know certain GardenDrum readers would take me to task for bad language.
I looked at the illustration that came with this press release, and was delighted to see the fabulous public open space that sits outside the blocky, somewhat unprepossessing buildings. The park is thick with trees and clothed in green lawn, and an impressive informal outdoor theatre area cascades down the southern side.
And then I noticed the caption on the illustration – “artist’s impression”. Huh? Does that mean it’s not….um….real?
So I turned to the ‘Master Plan Framework‘ which shows a huge, rich-green area surrounding the buildings, which looks a lot to me like an enormous open park, as usually the colour green is used on a plan to show, well, ‘green’ stuff like plants and grass. Until I read some of the fine print alongside:
“This framework reaffirms the commitment to 50% public open space across Barangaroo with the foreshore promenade running the length of the site. 2.6 hectares of public domain on the waterfront will accommodate a mix of active and passive public spaces available for events, festivals and recreation“.
Now to me, that sounds a lot less like a big green public park and a lot more like areas that can be hired and fenced off, making them exclusive for paying customers. Call me suspicious, but given this NSW Government’s attitude to other public assets like the Royal Botanic Gardens, it obviously sees them as resources from which it can make money rather than precious, publicly owned spaces for the enjoyment of all.
But, just to be sure, I wrote to the Barangaroo Authority asking:
“I would like to report on the plans for Barangaroo Central for my GardenDrum Sydney readers. Is there an actual landscape plan for this area? On what is the artist’s impression based?“
And the answer came back:
“We have prepared a revised master plan for Central Barangaroo. The artist’s impression is just that – a concept of how the proposed new master plan could or might be interpreted.
Detailed design and planning is yet to be done for both the development areas and the public domain in the central portion of Barangaroo.
You may be interested in reporting on the Headland Park at Barangaroo which is already under construction. More than 75,000 native trees, plants and shrubs are already being grown for the park.”
Yes, the Headand Park is indeed a fabulous addition to Sydney and the huge sandstone blocks and native planting will cause quite a buzz when it’s all finally revealed.
And MAYBE Central Barangaroo will end up looking exactly like this artist’s wonderful vision. We can always hope. But until that’s certain, please don’t send me deceptive pictures straight out of some unknown person’s imagination of something that doesn’t yet exist on any plan, and expect me to swallow an excited press releases about………..’baloney’.