The NSW government is targeting Rhodes for another 10,000 people (55% increase) in ten years. The trains, roads, schools, hospital and green space are already overloaded. The Greens are calling for an independent inquiry into development in Rhodes.
The latest NSW government plan for Rhodes includes 4,200 new apartments.
In the area between the railway line and Concord Road north of Mary Street East in Rhodes, the NSW Government has announced plans for 3,600 dwellings in place of the existing ~140 dwellings, plus an additional 600 new dwellings west of the railway line – almost doubling the size of two new towers.
The NSW government claims that there is infrastructure in place to serve new residents. That is untrue. The existing train capacity and road network is already over capacity. In addition, there are not enough public high school places, and Concord Hospital is falling even further behind.
There is already insufficient green space on the western side – with no playing fields for an existing population of around 13,700 in 2024. The development of the eastern side will add no new parks or playing fields. Surely any planning system that will effectively knock down a large part of a suburb would ensure basic things like green space as part of rezoning. But no, none of this has happened. In short, the overall planning for the redevelopment is nothing short of incompetent. And now, despite the change of government in 2023, things are continuing as before.
Transport is already inadequate
The government’s transport proposals (including a ferry wharf) are inadequate for current residents’ needs, let alone the future needs of Rhodes and Wentworth Point residents.
Based on past surveys, the Northern train line has offered the most overcrowded trains in Sydney. Passengers in peak hours sometimes cannot board trains in Rhodes, Concord West and North Strathfield due to overcrowding. It is important to remember that the Rhodes station also services the suburb of Wentworth Point. The government has mentioned the possibility of various upgrades of the Rhodes station which will not actually increase the throughput of passengers on trains. They have also mentioned the possibility of quadruplicating the train lines (another passenger train track in each direction) but there are no reported plans to actually do this. Even if the government planned to do this, it could easily take a decade to complete. Meanwhile, the government is pressing ahead with very detailed plans to fast-track new development.
Those travelling to work from Rhodes by car already know that Concord Road is often blocked.
Rhodes Swimming Pool
Despite massive redevelopment, Rhodes does not have a public swimming pool. I know the community was angry with Council’s decision in 2019 that it could not afford the annual subsidy for a 25m pool in the recreation centre. Yet the community really wants a new pool, which should be a large (Olympic size) pool available in all seasons. After imposing huge developments that the community never wanted, the least the NSW government can do is to help provide a new pool. This must include ensuring significant financial support for Council to cover the future operational costs for it.
Also see the Canada Bay Greens submission on the plans for overdevelopment in Rhodes.