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Sydney Mayor expresses views on new casinos

Mon, Apr 1, 1:42pm by Staff Writer

An architect and member of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s Independent Team has described the city’s two casinos as a “two-fingered salute to Sydney”.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Philip Thalis said that the casino situated either side of Darling Harbour were the legacy of poor planning processes.

“These twin totems of greed, with their overblown towers, now dominate this part of the harbour,” he said.

Cr Thalis said The Star’s proposed 237-metre tower would be more than 200 metres higher than its neighbours, “acting as some megalomaniac’s sundial, progressively casting its shadows across Pyrmont and the waterfront.”

His criticism follows Sydney Lord Mayor Clove Moore’s attack on the state government over a number of projects in February, including The Star’s tower proposal.

“They have recently used a loophole in the now repealed state planning system to request a radically different change to an old development approval for a 10-storey tower and hotel,” Cr Moore said.

City of Sydney Liberal councillors Christine Forster and Craig Chung both offered support for the development.

Cr Moore suggested that The Star return “to the drawing board”, putting her at odds with the casino operator.

“We take offence at any suggestion we are leveraging so-called loopholes in the process,” a spokesperson for The Star said.

“There is no loophole. We are following the correct planning pathway as determined by the Department of Planning.”

Cr Moore disagreed, and was adamant the tower displayed a blatant disregard of the council’s planning processes.

“It is a scandalous abuse of the planning system and will have a significant impact on surrounding areas, affecting residential amenity, overshadowing the public domain and changing the identity of Pyrmont forever,” she said.

The Star lodged its plan for a $500 million hotel and residential tower on its casino site under old planning laws that permitted an application for significant modifications be submitted before March 2018.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment is required to assess The Star’s proposal, a spokesman said. “It’s not a loophole, it’s the law.”

Similar planning issues faced in Melbourne

Crown Casino in Melbourne faced similar issues with planning for its One Queensbridge project recently.

Crown Resorts has been forced to rethink plans for a site in Melbourne’s Southbank after the Victorian government knocked back its bid for an extension to build Australia’s tallest tower.

The state’s Planning Minister Richard Wynne refused the $1.75 billion developments extension request, meaning Crown will need to obtain a new planning approval for the Queensbridge luxury hotel and apartment complex if they wish to proceed with their plan.

The permit expired on Sunday 3 March, 2019 and gave Crown Resorts and partner Schiavello two years to commence construction.

Crown told investors on Monday that the Victorian Planning Minister informally rejected the request to alter approvals given two years ago for the 90-storey project.

Located opposite Southhank’s casino, One Queensbridge was set to be 323 metres high – 26 metres taller than the Eureka Tower and would top Q1 in Surfers Paradise as the nation’s tallest building.

Crown has consistently remarked that the project was subject to obtaining financial arrangements that were “satisfactory to Crown and Schiavello” according to The Age.

“Crown retains a 50 per cent ownership interest in the land and will consider its next steps for the property in conjunction with Schiavello,” a Crown spokesperson said.

Mr Wynne granted the development in March 2017, despite staunch opposition from Melbourne City Council.

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