'Real estate deal': Concerns raised about Fish Market redevelopment

'Real estate deal': Concerns raised about Fish Market redevelopment

More than 90 per cent of the seafood sold at the Sydney Fish Market arrives by truck, yet both the operator and NSW government are adamant that a new facility should retain its harbourside location.

“Being located on the harbour is not only critical to the survival of the Sydney fishing fleet, but it is also central to the visitor experience,” said general manager Bryan Skepper.

“Our local and international visitors want to enjoy their meal on a harbourside setting with the atmosphere of the fishing boats.”

A new Fish Market will be built over the water at Blackwattle Bay, while its current site in Pyrmont, where it has been located since 1966, will be redeveloped into a residential area.

Jamie Parker, the Greens member for Balmain, said the state government was selling off the Fish Market site for up to 2760 new apartments: “A development three times the size of nearby Harold Park.”

“The relocation of the Fish Markets is about a real estate deal to build over our harbour and free up space for thousands of new multi-million dollar apartments,” Mr Parker said.

Mr Skepper said a “significant amount” - between 7.5 to 8.2 per cent - of seafood sold at the Fish Market’s wholesale auction arrived by water from the local Sydney fleet and visiting vessels.

Just over 50 per cent of seafood was sourced from NSW, with 12.2 per cent from Queensland, 12 per cent from New Zealand and 11.5 per cent from South Australia.

“Additionally, there is product unloaded from the wharf direct to our tenants of which we do not know the total volumes,” he said.

He said the new market would have “increased wharf capacity” for more seafood to be unloaded from boats.

The NSW government revealed in November the final design for the Fish Market, which is expected to open in 2023 at a significantly higher cost than the original price tag of $250 million.

It will feature bars and restaurants, an expanded seafood cooking school, new public wharves, a waterfront promenade, and ferry stop.

More than 400 car parks will be provided in the basement of the new facility, while Bridge Road will be widened and new traffic lights installed.

A spokesman for UrbanGrowth NSW said the project’s cost had not been finalised, disputing previously published estimates.

“Project costs will be considered by government as part of the 2019 budget process, and if budget is approved, a tender will be issued, and a builder appointed in late 2019,” he said.

The market receives about 3 million visitors each year, but modelling suggests it could grow to 6 million. The new Fish Market will have longer trading hours beyond the current site’s 4pm closing time.

But Mr Parker said the area was already congested and lacked green space and recreational facilities.

“Residents who want open space, public transport and a truly liveable city are being overrun by a system that is focused on delivering public waterfront land to private developers,” he said.

Questions have also been raised about the safety of rowers and dragon boat racers who may have to contend with more traffic in Blackwattle Bay.

Mr Skepper said sporting clubs would be consulted about the impact of the new Fish Market.

“Historically there has always been wharves and structures over water at Blackwattle Bay,” he said. “[The market] has shared Blackwattle Bay with other recreational and commercial users for many years.”

Alex Greenwich, the independent member for Sydney, said there was strong community concern that the current Fish Market site would be overdeveloped.

“Traffic and transport and education facilities are already at capacity and there are few opportunities to expand open space,” he said. “I’m also worried the government will again shirk its responsibilities to provide affordable housing.”
'Real estate deal': Concerns raised about Fish Market redevelopment 'Real estate deal': Concerns raised about Fish Market redevelopment Reviewed by Justenterin on January 13, 2019 Rating: 5

1 comment

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