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Gazette Article

Ch9 - our future stake

Nine Network Australia has started a no-holds-barred community consultation campaign in a bid to lodge a concept plan and environmental assessment (EA) by November 30 for high density residential rezoning of the 2.9ha Channel 9 site in Artarmon Rd.

Close to two years of inaction after PBL Entertainment Co first submitted its application for a $206m, 663-dwelling redevelopment, featuring 20-storey towers (see February 2011 Gazette. P1), Nine leapt into action when the NSW government brought forward by 10 months the deadline for transitional Part 3A EAs, including community comment. The government wants all Part 3A projects determined by June 2013 and applications for Part 3A projects that have not lodged EAs before November 30 will be removed. Although the Director-General can extend that deadline on a case by case basis, that “will be done sparingly”.

But Willoughby Federation of Progress Association president Don Swonnell has written to NSW planning minister Brad Hazzard, hoping to extend the seven-week timeframe for the Channel 9 site.

He is urging the minister to consider a master plan for the site and neighbouring council land, in what he described as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to achieve a planning result for the future far exceeding any of Nine’s concept plans, and meet the local government area’s mounting residential pressure and need for another school.

Nine has put together a new design team responsible for the site’s concept plan, comprising Lend Lease, SJB Architects and Urban Designers, but has yet to find a site where to relocate its operations.

At a “stakeholders breakfast” on the Channel 9 premises that started a series of community consultation events, Nine station manager Scott Soutar told the Gazette Nine had not found a new site but “like any property owner, we want to find out what our property is worth before we decide to move,” he said.

SJB director Adam Haddow presented three concept options at the meeting, proposing a lower but “flatter” building profile than originally proposed, varying from four to six buildings with storeys ranging from three to 16.

However, the number of dwellings is largely the same - about 650 or 225 dwellings per ha – bringing the site to R4 or high density residential zoning. Based on the assumption of 2.3 inhabitants per dwelling, the development will eventually house about 1,500 residents.

“This is not a density this community wants,” GM Nick Tobin told Nine after the presentation. He expressed his frustration at the unreasonably tight timeframe for any meaningful community consultation.

Councillor Michelle Sloane (Naremburn ward) agreed. She told the Gazette, it was “critically important” the community got involved at this early stage (see p 12) to make sure plans for the site met future community needs.

Nine has already started broader community consultation with the distribution of the first of regular “newsletters” to Channel 9 neighbours and advertising in the North Shore Times. Nine has also set up an information line on 1800 22 44 23; email:; and project website:

In addition, it organised general community consultation events, including guided community walks of the site and two-hour community workshops on November 7 and 8; plus a webinar on November 8.

by Eva Wiland, Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette November 2012
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Channel 9 site
Channel 9 site ... 'once in a lifetime' opportunity
Photo: MusInk





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