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Issue #1562      29 August 2012

Cowper Street Victory

The Housing Action team standing in the September 8 local government elections claimed a victory after all the Mayoral candidates, with the exception of current Lord Mayor Clover Moore, admitted that the Glebe Affordable Housing Project in Cowper Street has major deficiencies.

A demo outside of the Cowper Street just prior to the demolition organised by the community group ‘Hands Off Glebe’ with assistance from the CFMEU, CPA and Socialist Alliance.

“It’s a real breakthrough,” Housing Action team leader and Mayoral candidate Denis Doherty said. “After voting for this appalling project, the ALP and Liberals are now admitting that it has major problems.”

At the Meet the Candidates Forum at Glebe Public School on August 21, Linda Scott (ALP) declared that the development would be too high and would create parking problems. Edward Mandla (Liberal) said the project would be out of character with surrounding development. The Living Sydney candidate, Angela Vithoulkas, called the project a mess.

“Our Housing Action team believes that this breakthrough is due largely to our campaign and the work of the community action group, Hands off Glebe,” said Denis Doherty. “We are grateful to the Greens on Sydney City Council who consistently opposed the development.”

In June 2011 demolishers tore down 134 low rise public housing flats and ripped out 170 trees in a quiet back street in Glebe. Tenants were thrown out, and residents in surrounding terrace homes are facing overshadowing, loss of privacy, increased traffic and reduced parking.

The plan is to rebuild some public housing in ten storey tower blocks on a small portion of the site and to sell most of the land for private development which will include about 500 units and 500 square metres of commercial space.

Public tenants were moved out, mostly most unwillingly, and their community destroyed. Residents in surrounding terrace homes and units are protesting against the imminent overshadowing, loss of privacy, increased traffic and reduced parking.

“Recent reports detail the housing crisis in Sydney, growing housing stress and the urgent need for affordable housing,” Denis Doherty said.

“However, Sydney City Council refuses to fight for the community against a heartless State government which does not even have a housing minister.

“The Housing Action team wants a fighting Council which will meet the crisis with real social and affordable housing,” Mr Doherty said.  

The demolition of the Cowper Street Housing Dept buildings where approximately 300 people lived in 2011. (Photo: Michelle Fraser)


Cowper Street today where 300 people used to live.

Next article – Carolus Wimmer in Brisbane

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