THE City of Sydney last week said it has approved a record $1.94 billion building and construction program over the next 10 years to provide for new and refurbished facilities for a rapidly growing population and workforce, as part of its draft 2014-15 budget.
In addition to the capital works program, which includes $440 million for Green Square, $220 million to transform George Street and connect laneways as part of the light rail project and $240 million to upgrade public areas, the draft 2014-15 budget and 10 year corporate plan also includes a $106 million annual operational surplus.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said over the past ten years, the City had consistently delivered debt-free budgets, kept residential rates amongst the lowest in the Sydney metropolitan area, and provided free rates for pensioners while financing one of the biggest capital works programs in NSW.
"Sydney is the global city of Australia and our 10 year financial plan is a massive investment to nurture the city's liveability, its economy, its tourism, its sustainability, its open spaces and its cultural life," the Lord Mayor said.
"Almost 40 per cent of all additional jobs in metropolitan Sydney in the last five years were created in the City of Sydney. Our rate of employment growth is double that of the rest of Sydney. We are also one of the fastest growing residential areas in NSW.
"Attracting new businesses and jobs doesn't happen by accident – it takes careful planning and investment. Over the last ten years responsible financial management and future planning, as well as close consultation with the community, has put the City in a strong financial position, allowing it to provide the facilities and services necessary to ensure Sydney maintains its reputation as a leading global city.
"Five years ago, less than 50 per cent of our residents lived and worked in our local area – that figure has now increased to 65 per cent. By creating a city where people come first, we've seen that jobs and new businesses also follow," Cr Moore said.
Major commitments to be delivered over the next 10 years include:
- $440 million for Green Square, which includes a new town centre with a library and plaza, an aquatic centre and sports field, and the conversion of the former South Sydney Hospital into modern community facilities;
- $220 million to transform George Street and connect laneways as part of the light rail project;
- $240 million to upgrade public areas such as footpaths, roadways and paving – including $51 million on granite paving for footpaths in the city centre;
- $130 million to upgrade the City's parks and green spaces, including $11.7 million on Perry Park and $13.6 million on Johnstons Creek and Harold Park in Glebe;
- $53 million for new child care centres;
- $37 million to integrate the Barangaroo development with Millers Point;
- $27 million refurbishing pools including $4.8 million on Cook and Phillip Park Pool and $4.3 million on Victoria Park Pool; and
- $21 million on public art.
In the next financial year, the City will invest $245 million on projects that include:
- $28.5 million on new bike lanes, including $9 million for Castlereagh Street and $5.1 million for Liverpool Street;
- $6.2 million upgrading CBD laneways;
- $6 million upgrading Crown Street with wider footpaths improving walking and outdoor dining;
- $2 million on planting new street trees;
- $3 million on public areas in Chinatown;
- $4.1 million on upgrades and improvements to small parks and playgrounds; and
- $5 million improving streetscapes in Darlington and King Street in Newtown.