Former mayor Paul Lake says he will support the giant Campbelltown RSL redevelopment proposal because it will be good for the central business district.
But Cr Lake believes Campbelltown Council needs to play a bigger role in the revitalisation of the CBD.
Speaking on the eve of tomorrow night’s council meeting, Cr Lake also took a swipe at consultants Deloitte for producing an artist’s impression of the CBD that caused concern for the future of local heritage buildings.
The RSL redevelopment proposal submitted to council contains plans for three new buildings of 24 storeys, 18 storeys and 14 storeys, and will include a 150 room hotel, 450 apartments, and new club premises over three floors.
Along with 100 new apartments nearing completion in Broughton Street, and a proposal for 600 apartments at the Brands on Sale building in the bowling alley going to the Greater Sydney Commission for approval, Cr Lake says it will be interesting to see what the reaction will be from local residents.
“I am in favour that the RSL development should proceed; I think it will be to the benefit of the area of Campbelltown because we need people living in the heart of Campbelltown, to help activate it,’’ says Cr Lake, who was first elected to council in 2004 and served two terms as mayor.
“It’s no good just having commercial buildings in the CBD because you need people to live there, to be there on the weekends, walk around and use whatever facilities are available, restaurants, cafes and so on.
“The RSL plan is around 25 storeys and I wouldn’t want to be going any higher,’’ he said.
Greater Sydney Commission will decide whether to approve it or not.
“It’s out of our councillors’ hands – the only control we’ve got is on the height,’’ Cr Lake said.
Even if the RSL plan goes ahead, the veteran councillor is convinced council needs to actively show the way for potential investors into Campbelltown.
“We have $65 million there [from the sale of council land at Menangle to housing developers] and we should look at using some of that to revitalise the CBD,’’ he says.
“Council is doing a lot at the moment, such as consultancy work and getting ideas about how Campbelltown should look in the future, and that’s great.
“There’s a lot of plans, and I can go back since I’ve been on council on plans that were commissioned but not activated; they were kind of put on the shelf.
“As I see it, the best way forward is to lead by your own actions, and the council should look at a new council facility and a new library in one centre that may be in the eastern side or it could be on the western side.
“It could be done on the current site in Queen Street – get rid of the civic centre and building something completely new there.
“But either way I think we should lead by example,’’ Cr Lake said.
A recent report containing a “vision’’ of how the Campbelltown CBD may look like in the next 20-30 years contained an artist’s impression which gave rise to concerns among some that heritage buildings had no future in this approach.
Produced by consultants Deloitte, Re-Imagining Campbelltown was launched with some fanfare in the NSW Parliament earlier this year.
But one image – pictured below – contained in the report showed part of the CBD with some historical buildings missing in action.
Cr Lake says Deloitte should do something about that error.
“With regards to Re-imagining Campbelltown, I think that was a bit over the top,’’ he says.
“I personally believe Deloitte didn’t take into consideration the historical buildings we have, and made people in Campbelltown panic.
“It was their mistake and they should learn from that, when they do anything else in any other area.
“And really they should re-image the area, to show where these historic buildings are and how it will look,’’ Cr Lake said.
“It’s alright to do an artist’s impression on a vacant block of land, but when you have historic buildings, and buildings council doesn’t own, and say this is what it should look like, I think they should have been a bit more considerate.’’
- Tomorrow night’s council meeting is scheduled to start at 6.30pm.