Local residents in Marrickville are opposing the proposed expansion of Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre. The Metro Watch group has developed a website, held information stalls, collected signatures on petitions, door-knocked the local area, and held protests.
The effectiveness of this local campaign was demonstrated by the fact that a full-page ad promoting the expansion appeared on the second page of the September 2 Inner West Courier.
The centre’s owner, AMP Capital Investors, plans to increase the floor space by 115%, the parking space by 65% and to add an extra level. The proposal also includes the purchase of a section of Smidmore Street and expanding the centre across the street.
Metro Watch said: “AMP Capital has decided to bypass the locally elected councillors by applying straight to the State Government. It can do this because the NSW Labor Government introduced a controversial pro-developer law called Part 3A.
“Under this law the Minister for Planning makes the decision instead of the local council. The community is effectively bypassed in this process and appeals to a decision are severely restricted.”
Metro Watch is opposed to the purchase of Smidmore Street, the prospect of increased traffic — including more delivery trucks — and increased noise and air pollution. The group is concerned about the removal of fig trees and the adverse effect on existing shopping strips in Marrickville, Enmore and Newtown.
On August 14, 200 people rallied against the expansion, including Marrickville mayor Sam Iskander, Greens MP Sylvia Hale, deputy mayor Fiona Byrne and councillor Peter Olive.
Metro Watch announced plans for more protests, including car cavalcades around the shopping centre on Saturdays.
The Marrickville Chamber of Commerce has bought 100 banners calling for “no metro expansion”. They are available free for households wishing to display them.
[For more information, visit www.metrowatch.com.au .]