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At 85, Luna Park plans $30m spend on 9 new rides By Staff Reporter Luna Park at Milsons Point is planning a $30m investment in nine new rides, expected to launch in June 2021. Managing director of Luna Park Sydney Peter Hearne, said: “We are investing over $30 million to upgrade park facilities, introduce nine new, state-of-the-art rides and update some of our other attractions, while ensuring we retain the heritage and history of this much-loved Sydney destination.” The new facilities include six new children’s rides; a family coaster; a thrill ride; and a new Big Dipper, revamping the park, which celebrated its 85th birthday this year. The new Big Dipper is a state-ofthe-art ‘one seat wide’ train that is smaller than the original Big Dipper
at Luna Park. It has been specifically designed to ride very low to the terrain where appropriate, apparently in harmony with the historic landscape features of the site. The Big Dipper has been manufactured by Intamin in Switzerland, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of coasters. It is claimed as the world’s first single launch roller coaster, with a top speed in excess of 70 kilometres per hour. “The people of Sydney love Luna Park, which is as emblematic a symbol of our city as the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House,” Hearne said. “We are just going to make it even better than it is now, while still preserving its wonderful heritage. Importantly, every ride and attraction will comply fully with the very strict Continued on page 2
North Sydney area hit by NYE restrictions, bridge rail closure By Staff Reporter Residents of the North Sydney local government area are set to suffer major inconveniences over the New Year period with freedom of movement and assembly to be restricted on 31 December and the train line to the city to be closed for ten days from 1 January. A so-called green zone around the harbourside areas of Milsons Point, McMahons Point and Kurraba Point will be set up for New Years Eve. Residents will require passes to enter the areas on NYE. “Only residents who live inside the zone, their guests, and those with confirmed bookings at venues such as restaurants, hotels or bars within the area will be allowed in,” according to the NSW government. “Those with confirmed bookings, and residents, will be able to download a New Year’s Eve Pass from Service NSW. Passes will be checked prior to entry into the Green Zone area. Anyone who does not have a New Year's Eve Pass will not be allowed to enter.” Passes are available from the Service NSW website. Even local residents will not be allowed to enter the specific vantage points of Bradfield Park, Blues
Point Reserve, Mary Booth Reserve, Quibaree Park, Kurraba Reserve and Cremorne Reserve after 5pm on NYE. A broader yellow zone will apply for Kirribilli, McMahons Point, North Sydney, Milsons Point and most of Neutral Bay and Waverton. “People looking to gather in this area in large numbers may be subject to move-on police powers,” according to the government. Vantage points around the Harbour
are being reserved for frontline workers this New Year’s Eve in what the state government has termed as a “thank you for keeping the community safe throughout the year.” The government, through Resilience NSW, said it is reaching out to the agencies at the forefront of the bushfires and pandemic to arrange access to special New Year’s Eve Passes. “Each agency will be managing the allocation of these Passes to frontline workers from Monday 7 December 2020. Agencies will update their staff with further information,” the government said. There will be no 9pm family fireworks or activities around Sydney Harbour this year. There will be a short firework display from Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight only. “This will be broadcast live on ABC TV, allowing you and your friends or family to watch from home,” the state government said. Up to 50 people can visit a residence, however NSW Health strongly recommends having no more than 30 visitors at a time if the residence has no outdoor area. The total number of visitors includes adults and children. Up to 50 people can gather outdoors. To maintain physical distancing
across the network, public transport services continue to run at a reduced capacity. On New Year’s Eve, public transport will run regularly with some additional services. RAIL CLOSURE: The following 10 days will also see rail services across the Sydney Harbour Bridge replaced by bus services. NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said buses will replace trains on the T1 North Shore & Western Line, between North Sydney and Wynyard, from the 1st to the 10th of January, with flow on effects for all rail lines except the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line. Constance said: “This work will ensure we continue to provide an efficient network for commuters and is a once in a generation opportunity to extend the life of the 88year-old railway corridor by 120 years.” Sydney Trains acting CEO Suzanne Holden said the 10-day maintenance project involves replacing a timber deck with a longer-lasting concrete structure. “While we continue to invest in new technology to improve customer service, it is vital that we continue to maintain our significant historical assets,” Holden said. High frequency bus routes will cater for commuters.
Luna Park gears up for nine new rides from mid- 2021, Olympic pool closing soon
L TO R: MP Felicity Wilson, tourism minister Stuart Ayres, Luna Park MD Peter Hearne
Continued from page 1 existing regulations relating to noise, height, lights, and hours of operation that have been in place since 2004, as well as fully complying with the amendments approved in 2018 to the State Environmental Planning Policy (State Significant Precincts) 2005,” he added. Luna Park management say the new rides are necessary for the venue to remain commercially viable and competitive: “The upgrade will also create hundreds of new jobs and help boost local tourism and the economy during extremely challenging times.” The park will close from 27 January although functions and special events will continue to operate as the new rides are installed. The park will operate on a daily basis until then. Luna Park management say much of
the installation work will take place during business hours to minimise disruption to neighbours. Luna Park isn’t the only local attraction closing for next year. Neighbouring venue North Sydney Olympic Pool, already heavily impacted by COVID-19, is closing on December 31 for a $58m renovation that is expected to take two years to complete. Despite some media and councillor pressure to keep the venue open, Mayor Jilly Gibson argues that the pool is now structurally unsound. She said the pool is already leaking thousands of litres every day. “We couldn’t even put up a sun shade for this summer because the concourse cannot take any extra weight on it,” she told Radio 2GB earlier this month. “It is failing and it has to be fixed.”
Local employers to persist with WFH into 2021, even as pandemic rules lift By Grahame Lynch Major North Sydney employers are set to continue with tolerance and encouragement of work-from-home policies even though the NSW government has signalled the OK for a return to work this month. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that from Monday, 14 December the Public Health Order requiring employers to allow employees to work from home where it is reasonably practicable to do so will be repealed. As employees return to the office, workplaces are encouraged to have COVID-Safe plans and to stagger staff starting and finishing times to reduce the impact on public transport. Several major employers in the North Sydney area told North Sydney Sun that they would continue to persist with work-from-home practices into 2021. One is TPG Telecom, the newly merged entity of Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG, which is headquartered on the corner of the Pacific Highway and Berry St in North Sydney. TPG Telecom group executive people experience Vanessa Hicks told the Sun: “We’ve got an agile model in place for office-based employees, and that will continue. Our people are empowered to make decisions about how to best structure their working week to suit their work responsibilities and personal situations. Over recent weeks, we’ve been seeing more employees start to return to our Sydney offices a few days a week as needed, and we expect that will probably pick up as we move into next year. There is no one-size-fits-all model and it’s about what works best for both our people and the business.” TPG’s Sydney operations are predominantly centred in North Sydney with offices also in North Ryde and the Sydney CBD. Vocus, which has offices in North Sydney at Victoria Cross, has also formalised its WFH plans for NSW employees.
A spokesman told the Sun: “Vocus has introduced a new ‘Flexible Working Policy’ with a hybrid structure, allowing eligible staff to choose to work from the office fulltime, or work flexibly – where they can choose to work from the office for a minimum of two days a week, and work from home for up to three days a week. This policy came into effect in NSW this week, following introduction in South Australia and the Northern Territory in early October. Other states will follow in due course.” NBN Co, which operates its NSW HQ from 100 Mount St, North Sydney, started welcoming employees back in September but will also continue with an official WFH policy. NBN Co’s chief people and culture officer Sally Kincaid told the Sun, “With the easing of restrictions, our people are increasingly exploring a blended work experience that mixes the best of both words – a couple of days working from home, along with coming into the office a few days.” “We have conducted employee surveys to understand peoples’ preferences – our people tell want to see a hybrid
approach i.e. a mix of WFH and being back in the office two to three days per week and now that employees have proven they can be just as productive, if not more so, working from home – the majority of employees indicated a preference to continue working from home at least two days per week after the pandemic has passed.” The likelihood that major employers will encourage or tolerate staff working from home for two days a week or more could have major implications on the local economy. For a start, it could dramatically impact foot traffic in the district, to the detriment of local cafes, restaurants, retailers and service providers. Around 40,000 employees were judged to be working in the North Sydney CBD pre-pandemic. A further 15,000 worked in the Crows Nest/St Leonards area, 3,000 in Milsons Point and 3,000 in Neutral Bay village. A reduction in their office attendance by a factor of 40% could have profound effects not only on local demand but on commercial property requirements going forwards.
However, the WFH trend does not necessarily work to the detriment of North Sydney per se. TPG, for example, looked at rationalising the offices it had in other parts of Sydney such as Macquarie Park and the Sydney CBD when it merged with Vodafone. In the end, according to Hicks, it decided to consolidate its offices at North Sydney, aided and abetted by the WFH trend, which was already occurring pre-pandemic. “The way we worked pre-pandemic, for instance, in the North Sydney building, was we had neighbourhoods. So you would come even and sit in your neighbourhood but would generally sit at a different desk each day. So now as we look at what the new way of working is going to be, we’ll still have the neighbourhoods. Because we’ll have that blend of working at home and working in the office, we won’t need nearly as big a footprint moving forward, and that’s really what's enabled us in this initial stage to move the 200 employees in without taking any additional floor space, which, if this hadn't happened, could never have actually been achieved.”
Aussie Broadband hauls fibre through Sydney Harbour Tunnel By Dylan-Bushell Embling Aussie Broadband deployed a fibre broadband trunk through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel as part of its rollout of its own fibre network in Sydney. The installation was conducted by Global Utility Construction and links the Sydney CBD to North Sydney. Aussie Broadband managing director Phil Britt said of the build, which will connect data centres with NBN connection points, “We had originally planned to install a cable through the water. But there was already an available duct that runs through the tunnel so we decided to take that route instead.” “Sydney will be a simple run from Alexandria to Macquarie Park, but the diverse path will follow. There’s around 1,000m to construct in Macquarie Park and it will pick up two datacentres;
NextDC S1 and NextDC S2,” he added. Aaron Wright, managing director at Global Utility Construction, said there was a tight time frame to get the work done due to heavy traffic in the tunnel. “We had to operate within a very strict schedule, with a four hour window available on specific nights only,” Wright said. “It runs from near NBN’s Dalley (Bridge St) Point of Interconnect through the tunnel and out into North Sydney. The next POI on the north is St Leonards, but that’s 2-3km north of the tunnel exit,” he said. “It will pick up 3 Equinix data centres in Alexandria, and the NBN POIs in Newton, Glebe, City South and Dalley. This is the hardest part because there’s about 3.5km of civil construction needed in Alexandria alone,” Wright said.
HAUL: Tunnel fibre laid at night
NBN extends business fibre across LGA NBN Co is expanding the availability of its Enterprise Ethernet business fibre offering across virtually the entirety of the North Sydney LGA. Recent announcements of an expansion of the fibre footprint show that North Sydney, Neutral Bay, Milsons Point, Waverton, Kirribilli and Cremorne Junction are included in the footprint. A separate map shows Crows Nest, St Leonards, Artarmon, Naremburn and Gore Hill are also zoned for fibre. Businesses in the zones which want to access the high speeds available over the fibre can do so via eligible retail ISPs. NBN Co has also designated the North Sydney and surrounding services to be eligible for special CBD pricing, which can be as much as 45% to 67% cheaper than prices in other zones. A range of other fibre providers also service North Sydney area businesses.
Woolworths invests $4m in Crows Nest store By a staff reporter Woolworths has invested $4m in what it describes as a refresh of its Crows Nest outlet on Burlington and Alexander Sts. It says the new look supermarket is centred around locally sourced foods, an innovative Fresh Ideas Kitchen, new premium meats and cheeses, and the option of skipping the checkout queue for a contactless shop with Scan&Go. “The Fresh Ideas Kitchen is a brand new feature for a Woolworths Supermarket, where customers can seek inspiration from a Woolworths Chef during twice a day cooking sessions from Thursdays to Sundays. Designed to be more than just a demo, the sessions will highlight selected ingredients and discuss their provenance, preparation, and various uses, offering customers inspiration and new meal ideas at home,” according to a Woolworths spokesperson. Woolworths Crows Nest store manager Mo Madnin said: “My team and I are thrilled to offer local residents a fresh shopping experience, just in time for the busy Christmas season ahead. The layout of the store is designed to put fresh food, local suppliers, and convenience at the heart of the shopping experience. “Whether customers are looking for inspiration from the Fresh Ideas Kitchen, or a creamy Australian cheese for a Christmas charcuterie board, or buy from an expanded range of premium Australian meat and seafood, our team is here to offer recommendations for the freshest ingredients.” A new Cheese Room, claimed as one of only three in Australia, offers an extensive premium ‘cut to order’ cheese selection. “With delicious local and imported specialty cheeses from around Australia and the world, a dedicated Woolworths Cheese Specialist will also be on hand to recommend new cheeses
CHEESE ROOM: Claimed as one of only three in Australian Woolworths outlets to try or help assemble the perfect cheese board,” the spokesperson said. Resident cheese expert Cathy Willis, said: “I’m excited to share our Cheese Room with an extensive range of local and imported cheeses with the local community. My personal favourite is a Barbers cheddar - sharp, crumbly, and has a great taste and texture and pairs well with apples and roasted nuts or dried fruit.” The store also offers an extended Macro Wholefoods section, a range of artisan breads baked fresh daily including new flatbreads in three flavours,
and a new carvery for freshly cooked meat and sides on the go. “Support for local producers is also a strong focus, with products like Tilba Valley cheese, Sonoma bread, Pukara premium olive oils, and a new fresh pasta from local supplier, Pastabilities all now available at Crows Nest Woolworths,” the spokesperson said. Opening hours for Woolworths Crows Nest are 7am to 10pm seven days a week. “For added convenience, Woolworths Crows Nest will also offer ‘Scan&Go’ technology, which allows
customers to scan goods with their smartphone as they walk through the store and pay in the app before tapping off through a kiosk,” the spokesperson said. The refresh of the Crows Nest outlet raises the stakes in the suburb’s supermarket wars. Last year, Coles opened what it calls a “next generation” outlet further north at Willoughby Road and Albany St. The GOG supermarket, which specialises on Asian food and product lines, also opened across the road from Coles earlier this year.
Nine makes historic move to North Sydney, Willoughby TV tower to be demolished By Neerav Bhatt Nine Entertainment Co's new headquarters are at 1 Denison St, North Sydney where it has secured a 12-year lease to use about 40% of the building's capacity, the remainder will largely be taken up by technology companies Microsoft and SAP. This new glass facade skyscraper is the tallest in North Sydney at 158m and was built by Multiplex for Winten Property Group. Located between the new Victoria Cross Metro Station and North Sydney Railway Station it will be a sizable new media and technology hub which hopefully attracts other similar companies bringing more jobs to the area. Moving to 1 Denison St means for the first time Nine Entertainment Co can house broadcast TV, radio, newspaper publishing and digital businesses in one location with the aim of enabling synergies and encouraging more collaborative projects such as joint news investigations between the TV news and newspaper mastheads. Executives have already moved in and staff from the former Fairfax mastheads were next to move from Pyrmont. Nine itself started broadcasting from their last month. The final group of staff to move will likely be the sales team who will vacate their Australia Square offices in 2021. The move will be a fresh start for Nine Entertainment Co as it moves towards a future where its business focuses more on digital interests like STAN, 9Now and Domain as the value of its traditional TV licence assets likely continues to dwindle over time. The former home of Channel 9 and birthplace of Australian broadcast television at Artarmon Road, Willoughby will be transformed by new owners Mirvac into a new community of residential apartments in a collection of towers ranging from four to nine stories.
The development which was approved recently by the Willoughby Local Planning Panel will be capped at a maximum of 46,853 square metres of new residential gross floor area. The land had previously been sold by Nine to joint venture LEPC9 in 2015. They made a handsome profit after Mirvac purchased the site earlier this year for $227 million, as well as an adjoining parcel of land from TX Australia for just over $20 million. The 233m Eiffel Tower-like broadcast transmitter located on the former Nine studios site has dominated the North Shore skyline since 1965, when it replaced a previous smaller transmission tower built in the mid 1950s. In its heyday the tower broadcast TV signals to viewers across much of Sydney and as far away as Newcastle and Wollongong. It will be a big change to the area’s streetscape when the 347tonne steel structure is demolished. Mirvac aims to demolish the disused TX Australia transmission tower to make way for a 10th apartment tower, without increasing the number of total approved dwellings on the site from 460 1, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments. A spokesperson for Mirvac said that: "The hilltop site at Willoughby has been closed to the public for more than 60 years and by unlocking it we have a rare opportunity to create something of enduring value not only for those who will live there but the wider community.” In addition to the new apartment housing, they said the "development application proposes more than 6,000 square metres of public open space including a new park and playground, and a village-style retail plaza to benefit the local community.” To put the new green space into context the entire site purchased by Mirvac is 32,000 square metres so this new publicly accessible area will be 18.75% of the site surface area. Once known as
the home of television, many popular programs were created and broadcast from the Nine Studios at Willoughby including the first Australian TV broadcast in 1956. David Knox, editor of industry blog TV Tonight recollected the following highlights from the golden era of broadcast television: “Willoughby has been home to iconic Australian shows including Bandstand, The Mike Walsh Show, Midday, Wide World of Sports, 60 Minutes, A Current Affair, The NRL Footy Show, and even Australia's Funniest Home Videos.” “Thousands of Sydney residents would queue at Artarmon Road for a chance to see visiting stars such as ABBA, Sammy Davis Jr., Cher, Dionne Warwick, Michael Crawford and Phyllis Diller. It's where Kerri-Anne danced the Macarena with Peter Costello, Normie Rowe got into biffo with Ron Casey, and where Kerry Packer called on his red hotline to pull Doug Mulray off the air. When Alan Bond bought the network for $1B from Kerry Packer in 1987 he turned a two storey building into three with a marble floor for the executive level.” “Three years later Packer bought it back for $250m, famously quipping ‘You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime, and I've had mine!’ But he also covered up the floors with green carpet.” “TCN is full of infamous stories of television excess, including a board room table made of Tasmanian Huon Pine, a glass lift, Friday night drinks with free-flowing Bollinger, minibars filled with booze (until Kerry ended the habit), and a Harley Davidson gift for Sam Chisholm's 50th birthday that needed a crane to get it into the board room. And then there was the couple getting it on at the Christmas party in the Nine chopper on the helipad. Did
DEMOLISHED: TCN-9 tower to go
NEW ERA: 1 Denison St someone say CCTV cameras?” If those walls could talk, they might make a hit miniseries, but who would believe the script?”
TPG Telecom, North Sydney Council dispute lights up By Rohan Pearce TPG Telecom has launched action in the NSW Land and Environment Court against North Sydney Council over a Vodafone signage dispute. In 2016 — prior to the merger of TPG with Vodafone Hutchison Australia to create TPG Telecom — a development application for six Vodafone signs on the Vodafone building on the western fringe of North Sydney’s CBD was approved. That DA included three rooftop signs facing north, east and west. While the north- and east-facing signs were approved with illumination, the western sign facing the residential suburbs of Wollstonecraft and Waverton was not, a council spokesperson told the Sun. “We are currently going through a process in relation to approved signage on our office building at 177 Pacific
Highway North Sydney,” confirmed a TPG Telecom spokesperson. “This matter relates to western-facing signage only. We are appealing council’s decision to refuse a development application to allow the western-facing signage to be illuminated.” In January this year the telco submitted its development application seeking the right to light-up the west-facing sign. The council refused the DA primarily on two grounds, the council spokesperson said. The first was that the “proposed illuminated signage panel is not compatible with the desired amenity and character of an area.” The second was that an “illuminated western roof sign is unwarranted as an additional building identification sign in the evening as it would be classified as brand advertising,” the spokesperson said. TPG Telecom has appealed the
council’s decision, with a court hearing set for 8 and 9 March 2021. The parties have clashed over the sign issue previously, with the telco lodging a modification application with the council in December 2017 seeking to illuminate the sign but was knocked back in February 2018. A subsequent court appeal by Vodafone was rejected on the grounds that the modification “was not substantially the same development as originally approved,” notes an environmental assessment by Ethos Urban that accompanies the most recent application lodged by the telco “The court did not therefore make any findings in relation to the merits of the proposal,” the document adds. TPG Telecom is continuing to use the Vodafone brand under licence to promote its national mobile network.
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Expand Jacaranda reach, says NS mayor
Welcome to the premiere edition of the North Sydney Sun. We were conceived in the general pessimism of 2020, where COVID-19 affected everything and major newspaper publishers were either closing down or stripping bare there suburban editions. There has to be hope beyond, we reasoned. Why not take a role in helping to inspire that hope? The North Sydney Sun aims to be one part, local newspaper of record, and one part, district business journal. The local government area has 75,000 residents and 16,000 businesses. Many of the latter employ the former. It’s time for a publication which treated the concerns of both seriously. North Sydney is also a district characterised by its tech concentration. Maybe not quite a Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley, but definitely akin. The Sun’s owner Decisive Publishing has a 26 year lineage in covering Australian technology as a serious journalistic enterprise. We’ve been covering the major employers of North Sydney for decades. We understand their concerns, and aim to reflect that appropriately, with balance, in a newspaper for the district where they operate from. Given the nature of our genesis, we want to start with a major bang. Hence our “Pay What You Want” promotion for local businesses. COVID-19 has been tough and some need a leg-up. We’re offering advertisers the chance to pay what they can while the going is tough. We want to support them. They want to support an independent press. We ask you, the reader, to support both them and us. Finally, this is a newspaper for the community. Tell us your news and views. As this is but a premiere edition, our emphases are not set in stone. Social media trolls sighting our early promotions were quick to label us a some type of putative propaganda vehicle for property developers. Nothing could be further from the truth. We will report the affairs of the municipality without fear and favour, recognising that reasonable and mature people can disagree. Unlike our early pre-critics, we will not jump to conclusions or present only one view of legitimately thorny issues. Indeed, we are the cognisant of the rich history of North Shore newspapers dating back to a century or more ago. Forgotten publications such as the Northern Suburbs Weekly Dispatch, the Great Northern and perhaps the most interesting of them all, the Suburban Herald, published out of Crows Nest prior to and during the Great Depression and boasting of itself as the “Greatest Free Distributed Newspaper in the Commonwealth.” We will not aim for such lofty ambitions initially, but we will do our best to get there eventually! If you like what we do, sign up to our Facebook group and our weekly email newsletter. You’ll get more current news that way and learn first of our promotions and upcoming stories. And what’s more, you will have chance to help inform and influence our output. North Sydney’s new newspaper is your newspaper.
North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson says it is time to embrace the annual Jacaranda bloom and influx of sightseers and expands it from its current location centred on McDougall St in Kirribilli to the entire suburb. “While I am sure McDougall Street will remain the centrepiece of the suburb and the best Jacaranda street in Sydney, the extension of the Jacaranda footprint would bring many benefits to the area,” Gibson told the November 30 meeting of council. “I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of the Kirribilli Village upgrade consultation but I am brimming with ideas to leverage the attraction of the Jacarandas including painting a Jacaranda mural somewhere perhaps on the wall along Ennis Road, closing the road for limited periods during the month so that people can take photos from the centre of the road without worrying about traffic, planting more Jacarandas throughout the suburb and encouraging our local businesses to sell Jacaranda-themed drinks, food, gifts and souvenirs. We could even explore the concept of a Jacaranda walk, supported by an App. I’m sure we can achieve some of these ideas at a lower cost than previous proposals,” Gibson said. UPGRADE TO HUME ST PARK Work has begun on 1,200 square metres of new public space in the heart of Crows Nest. The NSW Government has provided $3.5 million from the Precinct Support Scheme to fund the first stage of the Hume Street Park expansion project. NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the project features a new green pedestrian connection from Willoughby Road to the existing Hume Street Park, including a green plaza and pedestrian link. “Stage One of the Hume Street Park expansion project will include a central grassed area, pathways, seating and gardens, as well as terraces for outdoor dining. This project, alongside the future Holtermann Street Metro Park, gives Crows Nest residents two outstanding new public spaces to enjoy with their families,” Stokes said. North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson added: “The project has been developed by Council with the community, so I’m sure they will be just as excited to celebrate this milestone as we are. Crows Nest is one of our most loved villages and I’m proud to see council investing in its future.” Future Stages of the project could potentially see the park expanded significantly in the heart of Crows Nest, subject to funding. Stage One of the new open space is expected to be completed by September 2021. When the new Metro opens in 2024, around 10,000 people are expected to use the pedestrian link during morning peak hour to walk between the station and the village. NEW YOUNG ST PLAZA Neutral Bay is test driving a new plaza
Picture: Tram Vo funding deed with Council for the streetscape upgrade works that complement the Northern Beaches B-Line on Young Street through the New Year Bus Service. period. The temporary plaza, which will be suitable for a range of recrea- LOCAL EVENTS COMING BACK tional uses, will be built from hired Slowly but surely, summer events are fixtures and elements that can be re- coming back to the area. used elsewhere. The temporary plaza The Sunset Cinema at North Sydwill be located on Young Street be- ney Oval is promising to return between Military Road and Grosvenor tween 20 January and 27 March altLane and will trialled for three hough a line-up had not been anmonths. The community is invited to nounced as we went to press. give feedback on both the road closure The Cremorne Orpheum has variand the plaza. North Sydney Mayor ous special showings and events over Jilly Gibson said there were mixed summer including concerts by candleattitudes within the community to the light on December 20 and 21. proposal: “Many people could see the The first features cello and piano plaza becoming a central community performances of famous movie soundhub as Ernest Place in Crows Nest is. tracks while the second is billed as a Others were concerned that the road Christmas performance of Tchaikovclosure would create delays or make sky and Chopin. traffic heavier on nearby streets. Finally, Opera Australia said that Council decided to trial the closure to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will give the community an opportunity to return in March 2021 with Verdi’s see the impact and benefits of the pla- popular La Traviata, after being shutza before making a final decision.” down earlier this year due to the The works are fully funded by COVID-19 pandemic, just two weeks Transport for NSW as part of the out from opening night.
Talk of the Town
North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson and Federal North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman taking a look at a local project funded by federal COVID-19 stimulus. North Sydney Council will be using the funds for the replacement of the existing steps and footpath from the McMahons Point ferry wharf to East Crescent Street.
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Impact study quantifies benefits of Beaches Link to lower north shore A new Environmental Impact Study into the planned Beaches Link tunnel under Middle Harbour connecting Artarmon to Balgowlah has predicted major transport benefits for the lower north shore as a consequence of the project. But it seems likely that the project will add to congestion in North Sydney itself. One major projected benefit will be a reduction in heavy vehicle traffic using Spit and Military Roads by up to 74%. Other benefits will include improved connections to North Sydney and Sydney CBD and new connections to St Leonards and Macquarie Park via the Gore Hill Freeway Connection as well as better travel times and reliability for buses travelling along Military Road. There will also be benefits for public transport by providing the opportunity for new express bus routes to Sydney CBD, North Sydney and beyond, with potential for direct interchange at North Sydney and St Leonards with Sydney Metro and Sydney Trains. There will also be additional capacity for outbound traffic crossing Sydney Harbour and leaving the lower North Shore, relieving existing corridors including Military Road and Eastern Valley Way. This is illustrated by substantial improvements in average network speeds and the number of vehicle stops during evening peak periods. The project would also reduced the use of socalled rat-runs including Miller Street (Cammeray), Brook Street (Naremburn), Eastern Valley Way (Northbridge), Frenchs Forest Road (Seaforth) and the Ourimbah Road corridor. There could be some negatives for North Sydney, including localised increases to bus travel times through the North Sydney CBD area. Under the plans, the link would commence at the Warringah Freeway at Cammeray, with the mainline tunnels passing under Naremburn and Northbridge, then cross Middle Harbour between Northbridge and Seaforth. The mainline tunnels would then split under Seaforth into two ramp tunnels and continue north to the Wakehurst Parkway at Killarney Heights and north-east to Balgowlah, linking directly to the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation to the south of the existing Kitchener Street
bridge. The project would include a tunnel connection with the Western Harbour Tunnel and a surface connection with the Warringah Freeway Upgrade at Cammeray. The Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade project is subject to separate planning approval and their environmental impact statement is currently being assessed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. “It is assumed that the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade project would commence construction before the Beaches Link and Gore Hill Freeway Connection project. Should timeframes for the Beaches Link and Gore Hill Freeway Connection project be advanced, some elements of the Beaches Link component may be delivered as part of the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade works to maximise construction
efficiency and minimise impacts in particular areas,” the Beaches Link EIS said. According to the EIS, Military Road and Spit Road are the seventh and tenth busiest roads, respectively, in NSW in the AM peak, carrying about 70,000 vehicles per day, including about 4250 vehicles during the morning peak and 4750 vehicles in the evening peak. A total of 43 bus routes connect the Northern Beaches via the Spit Bridge, with 117 bus movements across the bridge in the AM peak hour. The number of bus routes increases to 56 on Military Road. The corridor is serviced by the B-Line which it is thought would benefit from reduced congestion on the route. About 66,000 bus passengers travel along Military Road per day, with the Spit Bridge remaining a key connection to and from the Sydney CBD and Northern Beaches, carrying over 34,000 bus passengers per day. “Beaches Link will transform the way
people move to and from the Northern Beaches, bypassing 19 sets of traffic lights through The Spit, Mosman and Neutral Bay and help save up to 56 minutes between Dee Why and Sydney airport,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. “Residents in Neutral Bay, Mosman and Cremorne will experience less congestion and noise, with traffic volumes expected to reduce by around a third along Spit Road. “The Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link program is expected to support around 15,000 full-time jobs.” Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the project will integrate with new and existing public transport connections. “There will be the opportunity for new express bus services to key centres including St Leonards, Macquarie Park, North Sydney and Sydney CBD, and direct access to North Sydney to interchange with the new Sydney Metro,” Constance said.
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From the Netherlands with love, local designer e-scapes to the internet to do business FAST broadband has helped Maryann Schmidt to defy the odds in 2020. Once upon a time it was unimaginable for the Cremorne based interior designer to work online and from home. “Everything was face to face” she said, so when COVID-19 hit, Maryann like many Australians wondered how and if she could continue to work. “I was on the road a lot, traveling from houses to suppliers, now it’s all done on my laptop at home which has been amazing.” In fact, the owner of Hunt & Design has never been busier. “People are at home more than ever before and deciding now is the time to make changes, create an office, redo their house,” Maryann said. Research commissioned by NBN Co found most Australians have created new or dedicated office space and that 67 per cent of respondents expect to work from home more after the pandemic. It also revealed 81 per cent of NSW respondents are confident they can fulfil the roles of their current job anywhere they have access fast internet. For designers like Maryann, consultations and walk-throughs of a home or business can be done online, even measurements are taken using apps like Canvas 3D and Tape Measure. “COVID has changed the way we interact with our clients,” Maryann explained, including one who recently relocated from the Netherlands to Sydney. While the client was overseas and in the process of relocating home, Maryann renovated and decorated the entire family home at Cammeray, consisting of a kitchen, four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two living areas. During the nine month build and design, Maryann made the client feel part of the process by collaborating and having regular meetings through video calls to view designs and materials to make choices about all things from the carpet to the drapes and the lights to the colour of the walls. “This is their forever home and she anticipated she could come and check on the progress every six weeks, but COVID meant that she only saw it when it was done.” Maryann admits there have been hiccups along the way, but that will not stop her from continuing to embrace digital connectivity and enjoying the many social and economic benefits that the nbn™ network is helping to deliver to homes and businesses across NSW, with more than 2.4 million premises connected. “Thank goodness. It’s fast and it’s efficient,” she said. “Connectivity is super important for us, as without it, we wouldn’t be able to work or do anything.” The NBN Co research also found that 81 per cent of work from home respondents agreed that access to fast
HINTS + TIPS Check your speed plan suits your needs. If your internet is slow it may be because you are on an entry level internet plan. Call your internet retailer and talk to them about the number of devices you have connected and how you are using the internet to find out if you have the right retail plan to support your needs. Get the right plan. Most home internet plans are used primarily to download (web browsing, movies, music) and as such have good download speeds, but are not as strong when it comes to uploading. When it comes to working from home you may have a greater need for uploading files and joining Skype calls so speak with your internet retailer to make sure your plan has the upload speeds you need to work from home.
Check your in-home set-up. Check your Wi-Fi router is in a central location in the home, ideally close to the devices you need to connect. Some routers may not deliver high performance and speeds. If you are concerned about the age or quality of your router or modem, seek advice from your internet retailer on possible upgrade options.
Providing a decorating service remotely COVID-19 has changed the way Australwas something we never considered to ians live and work. do before, but we now know we are ca“The pandemic has accelerated the pable of doing it. digitisation of our lives and highlighted “I can be at home more often, so I the very reason the nbn network was get more time with family.” built. She is not alone, with 81 per cent of “While this year has been challengrespondents to the nbn survey believing ing in many ways, it has also allowed broadband made them feel more secure the experience of working from home people the chance to reconsider what is in their jobs during COVID-19 and 83 has positively changed the way they important to them and we are commitper cent agreed they could not have think about managing work/life flexibil- ted to doing what we can to help people completed their jobs without access to ity. “We have really adapted over the achieve their goals and thrive.” fast internet. past nine months and had some great NBN Co is a wholesaler and there The shift to working online and from wins and are definitely more cost effec- are more than 150 different phone and home has opened new and different tive for clients and us as a business.” internet providers across Australia sellopportunities, allowing Maryann’s busiNBN Co Head of State Media Jane ing services over the nbn network. ness to reach every corner of NSW and McNamara said there is no doubt that Australia. “It certainly has broadened my hori- FAST FACTS zons in terms of the types of projects 1 The initial rollout of the nbn network is complete. that I work on,” she said. 2 Across Australia, more than 11.8 million premises are ready to connect. “I never felt like I needed to have a 3 In NSW, 3.7 million premises are ready to connect, with more than 2.4 million z huge online presence, but this year has active services. taught me the lesson that I can be more 4 More than 150 different phone and internet providers across Australia. present in other areas and meet clients’ 5 You can check your address and the type of connection via the nbn website. 6 Enterprise Ethernet is NBN Co’s premium grade business offering. needs, even when they live in other parts of NSW or Australia.” COVID-19 has been life changing for the small business owner and mother of To find out how the nbn network is changing the two who is now looking at establishing way Australians live, work, and connect, and how an online store. you can get the most out of the network, visit our “Our eyes have been opened about blog at www.nbnco.com.au/blog the way we can connect with customers.
New state government rules pave way for regulated, legal Airbnb style services in North Sydney next year By Grahame Lynch New rules that will guide the regulation of short-term accommodation to be introduced this month by the State Government have been welcomed by North Sydney Council as a step in the right direction. The council said it has received complaints in the past from residents and strata managers who were fed up with short-term letting such as Airbnb and Sabbatical Homes in residential properties, which were not being regulated. Technically such letting was not allowed in North Sydney as the council’s 2013 local environmental plan says short-term accommodation should only be provided in hotels, hostels and serviced apartments. The new laws, which were announced by NSW Fair Trading, will impose new obligations on booking platforms, hosts, letting agents and guests from 18 December 2020. This specifically includes short-term letting websites. From 18 December, a Code of Conduct for guests will include provisions such as: Guests must not make noise that unreasonably disrupts neighbours, and, guests must not cause damage to the premises, including common property. “Anyone who is found breaking these rules could face penalties such as warning notices, fines or being added to an exclusion register. Anyone listed
on the exclusion register will be prohibited from the short-term rental accommodation industry for five years,” according to the Council. The host will also have obligations under the code of conduct which include: * holding 3rd party liability insurance * allowing neighbours to contact them or their agent between 8am to 5pm * being responsible for the actions of their visitors and ensuring they comply with behaviour standards; * not renting out their premises to anyone on the exclusion register “When the Code is in place, community members will be able to make a complaint with Fair Trading if they believe that the code has been breached. However, council will still be the first port of call for issues or complaints relating to fire safety (including overcrowding), planning approvals, parking or ongoing noise,” the Council said. A short-term rental accommodation premises register is currently being developed by the NSW Department of Planning with an aim to have it ready by mid-2021. Hosts will be required by law to register their premises once the register becomes available online. “Council as well as community members have been lobbying the State Government to have this growing in-
dustry regulated. A report went to Council about the matter in October 2019 where it resolved to make a submission to the State Government with recommendations,” the Council said. Although such letting is technically not allowed in the North Sydney LGA this seems to be observed in the breach. A quick perusal by North Sydney Sun of the Airbnb site prior to the implementation of the regulations showed a range of properties available in the area. So for confused property owners unsure of their right to short-term let, we asked Council to clarify. Its answer: “Under Council’s planning controls, short-term accommoda-
tion should only be provided in hotels, hostels and serviced apartments. The 18 December changes relate to a new Code of Conduct provision for properties approved as short term rental.” “Council understands that there will be changes to planning laws in mid2021 as per the Fair Trading website that will regulate the use of premises for short-term rental accommodation across the whole of NSW.” “Hosts will be required to register their premises on a list kept by the State Government. This initiative will enable short-term rentals to occur in residential buildings notwithstanding an individual Council’s local environmental plan,” a spokesperson added.
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State government’s plan for a neon grid across late night Sydney welcomed by local businesses The NSW Government has passed legislation enabling its 24 hour economy strategy. And although North Sydney has not specifically been identified as a target of the plan, local night-trading businesses have welcomed the new policy direction. The Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 includes a new incentives and sanctions system with ongoing fee discounts for venues that maintain a clear record; removal of outdated live music restrictions; small bars permitting minors in certain circumstances; reducing red tape by aligning liquor licensing and planning processes, and enhancing same day alcohol delivery regulations. Earlier, tourism and jobs minister Stuart Ayres said: "Sydneysiders deserve a global city that's thriving 24hours a day, and the world wants a 24hour Sydney.” Measures include a 'Neon Grid' across Greater Sydney to create a single view of existing and potential 24-hour hubs, and a city-wide night-time hub certification program. A North Sydney council spokesperson told the North Sydney Sun that Council: “Has not considered the issue of a 24 hour economy and whether it is appropriate within the North Sydney local government area.” “However, we support the development of a night-time economy within
some of our commercial centres and have amended our planning controls to allow this to go ahead.” “Our current approach is to find the right balance between maintaining amenity and supporting our business community and economic growth.” North Sydney Council has already made one positive change. Small bars are now allowed on sites within the Kirribilli Village that do not share a boundary with residential development. Trading hours have also been extended. There is a semblance of a late night economy in North Sydney. Neutral Bay cafe Maisy’s has long traded on a 24/7 basis although those hours were recently curtailed to a 3am closure on account of the depressed business resulting from COVID-19. McDonalds applied to open a new 24 hour 7 day a week store at 100 Miller
Street, North Sydney just before the full impact of the pandemic hit Australia in late March and Council approved the development application in mid June. A 12 month trial period of 24/7 operations has been allowed subject to McDonalds complying with safety and other conditions required by Council and NSW Police. McDonalds’ Cremorne outlet already trades for 24 hours. Over in St Leonards, Bon Pollo Chicken opens until 2am. There are more options on the bar front. While most pubs close by midnight, Billy Barrys at North Sydney stays open to 2am most days, Minsky’s Cremorne also until 2am between Wednesdays and Sundays while the Crows Nest Hotel can stay open as late as 6am. Nearby cocktail bar The Foxtrot Inn opens as late as 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. The St Leonards Tavern
opens until 4am most nights. In Neutral Bay, SoCal is now the main late night option, open as late as 2am on weekends. Hamish Watts, from owner Applejack Hospitality, welcomed the state government strategy. “This long-awaited strategy is a goal we've been working towards for years, while it won'’ happen overnight, the plan is the first step, and a way forward. At a time like this, it’s really energising, it's the positive news our industry needs right now,” he told the Sun. “As a business outside of the CBD the plan to establish a neon grid linked with other night-life hot spots is very exciting! We want our local community, residents from other parts of the city as well as visitors out enjoying the great, vibrant businesses Sydney's North has to offer.” Regarding the impact of COVID, Watts added: “There’s no denying this year has been a huge blow to the industry, but as a community, we’ve come together and supported one another, which has been pretty amazing to see. Whilst we made the decision to not offer takeaway and delivery, we kept our customers engaged by doing giveaways and even a downloadable bottomlesslunch-zoom-kit complete with soundtrack links to enable friends to have a SoCal experience at home during lockdown.”
Market review with Ken Sharpe of Century 21
xtraordinary events through 2020 have resulted in substantially different outcomes in the local rental and sale markets. Home sales suitable to owner occupiers have managed to withstand any impact on prices due to Covid 19. Listings and transactions slowed substantially in the months following the March Lockdown. However we saw a frenzy of activity on restrictions being lifted, which has continued in momentum to the last Quarter of 2020. The most recent auction clearance rates are trending around 77%. Meanwhile, rental properties have felt the majority share of pain, impacted by multiple factors including government restrictions coupled with an exit of international students and expats from the market place. Those properties hardest hit have been apartments, with the largest vacancies and rental reductions of up to 25% in the core CBD and inner ring, reductions and vacancy then decreasing incrementally from this epicentre in parallel to distance from the CBD. Family homes have continued to attract reasonable demand, with some homes attracting multiple applications beyond asking rents reflective of the differing demographics between the local apartment and housing markets. Restrictions on open for inspections and onsite auctions earlier in the year have resulted in agents finding new approaches and different ways to both list and market properties. Prospective tenants and buyers, whilst active, became cautious to attend properties, resulting in a jump in views for online advertising and videos, with buyers and renters creating a shortlist of one or two properties to view rather than the historic trend of multiple excursions inspecting eight or ten properties. This shortlisting in turn has made the quality of repair, presentation and marketing ever more important over the period, with ad views and inspections substan-
tially higher on properties which have an online visual impact. Surprisingly, buyer feedback also indicated a preference for authentic video and face time options once a party was interested, over cinematic or glamourised video. Credit restrictions which relegated many buyers to the sidelines following the banking enquiry have continually eased through 2020, and combined with ongoing interest rate cuts have increased affordability and borrowing capacity of buyers which looks as though it will continue to push values of owner occupied properties into the new year. Increased first home buyer incentives contrasted against sidelined investors waiting to see a swing in rental momentum looks to have created an ideal buying window for new and first time entrants to the property and apartment market. Kenâ€™s predictions for the year ahead: - A frenzy of rental activity midyear as international borders open, expats and students return to the local market; - Increased overseas buyer demand for the CBD and inner ring buying into a political and COVID-19 safe haven; - Regional markets to grow substantially in popularity with local buyers and downsizers, accustom to work from home opportunities and the need to only commute once or twice a week to work places. Ken Sharpe is the principal of Century 21 offices in Sydney City and St Leonards assisting property owners and investors from the City to the North Shore. For a confidential chat around your property requirements contact Ken on 0414 589 945.
65 Berry St sells for $212m in a Metro train-boosted market Charter Hall Office Trust exchanged contracts to divest 65 Berry Street, North Sydney for $212 million, at a 10 per cent premium to the 30 June 2020 independent valuation. The property was sold on a passing initial yield of 5.21 percent. 65 Berry Street is a modern A-grade office building built in 1986, comprising ~14,500sqm across 17 upper levels of office accommodation and parking for 262 vehicles (1:55sqm). The asset was extensively refurbished in early 2019 as part of WPP’s lease renewal and expansion over 9,700sqm. The building’s occupancy is currently 98.6 per cent with a 2.2-year weighted average lease expiry. 65 Berry Street was initially acquired by an ASX listed office REIT in 2001 for $74.5 million and CHOT acquired the asset as part of the privatisation of the Charter Hall Office REIT in April 2012. The investment has generated an annualised equity total return of circa 21.5 per cent per annum for CHOT’s investors since 2012. CHOT Fund Manager Trent James, said “We were approached by the purchaser, a private group, off-market and given CHOT’s focus on major CBD markets, we chose to divest.” That group is believed to be Intera Group, which also owns other commercial properties in North Sydney. Charter Hall Office CEO Carmel Hourigan said “It’s pleasing to see a high volume of office sales printing at premiums to 30 June valuations, vindicating our view that asset pricing will be resilient.” Josh Cullen, Mark Hansen and Steve Kearney of Cushman & Wakefield introduced the deal to Charter Hall. CITYSCOPE SEES DEPRESSED OCTOBER QUARTER Cityscope said there were 9 commercial building sales in the North Sydney area in the October quarter worth $231.4m. This compared with 10 sales worth $395.4m in the equivalent quarter last year. Cityscope listed notable sales in the October 2020 quarter as: > 100 Christie Street, St Leonards, a 12storey office building with parking for 74 cars completed in 1984 and refurbished in 2019, has a net lettable area 10,040 sqm; and 92 Christie Street, St Leonards, a public plaza, the two adjoining properties with a combined site area of 2,466 sqm, were bought together for $130 million; > 170 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, a five-storey building with retail space on the ground floor, commercial space on the upper floors and basement parking for 129 cars over two levels; completed 1986. The building with a net lettable area 4,464 sqm on a 2,434 sqm block of land, was bought for $42 million; > 60 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, a three-storey office building with basement parking for 60 cars; completed in 1989. The building with a net lettable office area 3,020 sqm on a 1,403 sqm block of land, was sold for $33.8m.
SOLD: 65 Berry St
SOLD: 60 Miller St
DEXUS SELLS 60 MILLER ST Dexus said earlier last month that it had exchanged contracts to sell 60 Miller Street, North Sydney. The sale will realise net proceeds of $273 million, representing a circa 3% premium to the property’s book value at 30 June 2020. 60 Miller Street is a 17-level, Agrade office tower with ground floor retail across 19,350 square metres, located in the centre of North Sydney’s financial district and was built in 1987. At 30 June 2020, the property was 97% occupied and had a weighted average lease expiry of 3.5 years. The buyer was understood to be Hong Kong property group Huge Linkage. Key customers include Covermore and Flight Centre. The sale was the result of an off-market sales process which was enacted following the receipt of unsolicited offers. Settlement is subject to FIRB approval and is expected in mid-2021. Dexus Chief Investment Officer Ross Du Vernet said: “This transaction reinforces private market demand for quality office assets in Australia’s gateway cities.”
Lottie the crane gives new heights to Loreto Kirribilli The arrival of an 82 metre crane on the Loreto Innovation Centre construction site created a great deal of excitement at the Junior School. The crane, which has a 55 metre arm, is required to transfer materials and equipment onto the Loreto Kirribilli site and will be utilised for the duration of the build. Junior School students were invited to submit their entry to a ‘Name the Crane’ competition and explain their choice in 25 words or less. More than 250 entries were received and ‘Lottie’, put forward by Year 6 student Lucy, was selected as the winner following a vote by students and staff. “I chose Lottie as the Bob the Builder Crane is called Lofty. In the interest of empowering women, I did the female version of Lofty which is Lottie,” explained Lucy. The arrival of the crane marks the commencement of the construction phase of the Innovation Centre. This project milestone was marked by a Cutting of the First Sod Ceremony, held to signal the start of the build. Principal Mrs Anna Dickinson broke ground watched on by key members of the Loreto Kirribilli community, project team Bloompark Consulting and building partner Richard Crookes Constructions. NEW LEARNING HUB OPENED AT REDLANDS Redlands has officially opened its brand new, four-level learning hub, complete with large, modern teaching and learning spaces for Maths, English, Social Sciences, Innovative Design and Visual Arts. The new Redlands Learning Hub delivers an innovative environment also has a rooftop garden and large outdoor spaces. The building was officially opened by Premier Gladys Berejiklian at an opening ceremony attended by those instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, including former Principal Dr Peter Lennox. Redlands Principal Stephen Webber, said the new learning environment underpinned the Redlands contemporary approach to teaching and learning. “The Redlands Learning Hub is an inspirational learning environment which supports strong teaching practices and student engagement in their learning,” Webber said. “The flexible learning spaces are full of natural light, colour and visual transparency, break-out learning spaces and exceptional technology that have enriched our teaching and learning this year. “Importantly, the learning hub supports collaboration and creativity, which are key pillars of teaching and learning at Redlands. “I reiterate my heartfelt thanks to all members of the school community, parents, alumni and friends, who have contributed to making this project a reality. “I also thank the Premier for taking the time to officially open our Redlands Learning Hub, and for her inspiring
Schools & Colleges words of support and commitment to education.” UPGRADE FOR NORTH SYDNEY DEM ON WAY A major upgrade to North Sydney Demonstration School has been given the green light with funding now approved and construction to start next year. State MP Felicity Wilson announced an overhaul of the school’s facilities, including replacing old demountables with 16 new and refurbished classrooms, a new school hall, an upgrade to administrative facilities, and improved outdoor learning areas. “We’re getting on with delivering a state of the art upgrade for local students, with the planning and tender process soon to kick off and shovels in the ground in 2021,” she said. “This is a major investment in current and future Dem students, and will ensure that the school can continue to offer excellent teaching to the many new families moving into growing North Sydney.” “Our kids deserve the best start in life, and this record investment in our public education ensures that our local schools continue to do just that. I am grateful to the school community for working alongside me to secure this funding commitment – I know they will be as excited as I am about this milestone.” Stated education minister Sarah Mitchell said the Department of Education will commence procurement of a construction contractor as soon as possible to enable employment opportunities in the area. This includes going through an Early Contractor Involvement process so that construction can start in 2021. “We are committed to making sure that growing local communities have access to modern facilities and that students can benefit from the latest in school design, contemporary learning spaces and educational technologies,” Mitchell said. The Department of Education earlier this year invited community feedback for the upgrade at North Sydney Demonstration School through an online survey. The feedback will be used to inform further development of the project, including concept designs.
Twilight Food fair, pop-up Tonic Lane
Seen around North Sydney
(ABOVE) The Twilight Food Fair is now 31 years old and will run every Friday night from 4.30pm to 8pm until 5 March (excluding 25 December and 1 January) at Ted Mack Civic Park. (BELOW) Tonic Lane is putting on a pop-up bar and cafe at HMAS Platypus through Xmas and NY. Trading hours are Fridays 4pm – 9pm and Weekends 1pm – 9pm. Tonic Lane founder Lain Tapsall was at the pop-up event on Friday December 4 (pictured bottom left) All photos by ORLANDO SYDNEY
Xmas mince pies and Banh Mi: just a standard day at a modern Milsons Point cafe By Grahame Lynch Kirribilli old-timers will know that there has been a bakery occupying the premises at 4 Ennis St near Milsons Point station for nigh on half a century. First it was the Colonial Bakery, then the Flaky Tart and now it is called Nimba Bakehouse. But despite the continuity from a time when trams ruled the roads and the Warringah Expressway was but a twinkle in the eye of a NSW transport official, Nimba is very much a tale of modern Australia where a boy from England met a girl from Vietnam and made a commitment to each other, as well as to making a damn good cup of coffee and baked treats for their community. North Sydney Sun sat down with the two owners of Nimba’s, Paul Maidment and Clarita Huynh, just as the Christmas season was approaching. They both tell great stories about how they came to Australia: Paul travelled to Sydney on a sightseeing trip and liked it so much he didn’t make it home for six years, while Clarita was less than happily studying a degree in Wollongong and decided a year in Sydney might show her a better side of Australia. She sold him some candles in a retail shop where she worked, something clicked and the moment irrevocably changed their lives. Paul and Clarita are now a muchloved part of their community, serving what they estimate are over 150 customers a day with their eclectic range of coffees—both Western and Vietnamese, baked goods such as pies and tarts as well as delicious Banh Mi rolls. It’s all achieved with an admirable, almost military commitment to the business, with both rising in the early hours of the morning to start the baking and open the shop, always before sunrise. Asked what they do best, Clarita ventures: “I think the coffee. We do really good coffee at a high consistency. I'm really strict with the coffee machine. The only two people who make the coffee are myself and the other barista, they just have to have at least three to four years experience to be a barista in my shop.” “That means that everyday they are getting the same temperature, the same taste.” Paul adds: “It's also the service that we give to the customers is that we know people's names, what they want to drink. We've known the customer for enough time, so we can have a little insight into their life a little bit.” “I think that a lot of people come to the shop for the cinnamon donuts, which have a big following. That’s also come from the Colonial background and the Flaky Tart. So we’ve just continued to do that. And I think also us now doing the Banh Mi and the sandwiches, people know that they can come here and get Banh Mi and sandwiches.” Clarita explains that with her Vietnamese background, adding that to the
Photo: Tram Vo bakehouse’s product line was a natural step. “I wanted to bring a little bit of culture and you can see a lot of people like the stronger coffee. We started with the Banh Mi and people started saying, well why don’t you do the Vietnamese coffee as well?” Clarita admits she enjoys the surprise on the faces of tourists from her home country or other parts of SE Asia who have come to walk the Harbour Bridge or see the Jacarandas, walk in to what ostensibly looks like a Western café and discover its Vietnamese F&B lines. And as with the pies and tarts, Nimba makes key ingredients for the Banh Mi inhouse, including the chicken pate and the chili jam. Paul has also introduced some of his hometown culture from Luton, in SE England: namely his own recipe for Christmas mince pies: “We start making the mince back in January, so the flavours can really come out. In the UK, minced meat, you can keep it in a dark cupboard. But in Australia, the temperatures a lot different. So I’ve always found that, keeping it in the fridge is just the safest option.” Paul adds: “We only started doing them last year, so this is only our first Christmas. There’s a few things from the UK, the Christmas minced pies are very popular in the UK. So it’s just something to bring out from the English side.” Having worked as a chef in both the UK and England, Paul is a curious student of how the hot Christmases here change eating patterns. “I think that in the winter people in Australia, people go more crazy for anything like a comfort foods, chocolate, anything sweet, basically.” “In summer because it’s hot, you don't have the feeling you need to eat, but when it’s colder, you have the hunger. We have had orders for the mince pies in winter time as some Australians
like to celebrate Christmas when it's cold over here.” Paul has now worked in the Kirribilli area for eight years—he was the chef at the now departed Garfish restaurant— and he says the only real change in the district has been a evolution from the old-style local businesses to more modern cafes. “I do really like this area though. It feels very much like a tight community. Especially having the shop, you do get to know everybody within the area from the top of the tree to the bottom of the tree, you know everybody. We have some real characters that come into the shop”, he says. Clarita adds that one of the sideeffects of the COVID pandemic is that it has brought the community closer together and led to what she can see as an observable rise in service standards among local area businesses. “Customers tell me that they thought some of the local businesses
treated them quite rudely. But now the tourists are gone, they realise that we are all in this together. You have to earn the loyalty of the local customers because there is no such thing as random business anymore,” she observes. “So when people come in, we treat them well, we respect, we try to remember their names, make them happy.” “Then they bring more people in. And because it’s a small world. In their own way they talk about that café that they respect. Or sometimes when they don’t have money, we’re happy to afford them some credit and they can come back the next day and pay. We have no issue with that.” As to the origin of the name Nimba, Paul says it is the name of a mountain in the African republic of Guinea. “It was also the name of the house I grew up in England,” he adds. Clarita weighs in, saying: “It reflected our philosophy which is to always keep climbing.”
The official Nimba mince pie recipe THE MINCE MEAT: pink lady apple (450g), dried raisins (350g), dried currants (225g), dried sultanas (225g), dried mixed fruit peel (225g) along with 350g brown sugar, 120ml brandy, two oranges, two lemons, 50g of flaked almonds, 20g of ground all spice, 4g of cinnamon, 2g of ground nutmeg, 10g of table salt and 225g of vegetable shortening. MINCE METHOD: 1: Grate the apple, zest and juice the oranges and lemons. 2: In a large saucepan, place all ingredients except the brandy. 3: cook over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. 4: Remove from heat and add brandy, mix well. 5: Cool overnight. 6: Grate the vegetable shortening, stir into chilled mince meat. 7: Cover and store for 6-12 months. THE PASTRY: plain flour (500g), butter (250g), baking powder (5g), table salt (7g), egg yolk (5), caster sugar (150g), vanilla essence (15ml) and water (25ml) PASTRY METHOD: 1: Dice butter and chill 2: place flour, butter, baking powder, salt, sugar and vanilla into bowl 3: mix until sandy 4: add yolks and water, mix until it comes together 5: wrap dough to a flat disc 6: rest overnight MAKING THE PIES: 1: Preheat oven at 170c 2: grease a cupcake tray with spray oil 3: roll pastry out between 2 sheets of glad bake until 3mm thick 4: use a 11cm cutter to cut out pastry repeat this 12 times, place in the fridge on a tray 5: use a 7cm cutter to cut out pastry, use a tip of a noozle to cut a hole in the centre, repeat this 12 times, place in the fridge 6: with the larger cutouts, gently fold into the piled cupcake tray, ensuring there are no cracks. 7: place a spoon full of the mince meat inside the lined pie 8: spray with water and push the lid on top 9: brush the top with egg wash 10: bake for 15-20mins before tapping them out of their moulds, be careful not to break them 11: serve with ice cream or clotted cream
CROSSWORD Across 8 Most intimate (6) 9 Former St. George Dragons pro rugby hooker and national captain (3,5) 10 "Iron Gloves", Test wicketkeeper (3,5) 11 Sort of (2,1,3) 12 Gun butts (6) 13 What you usually see in a mirror (8) 14 Rare Queensland spider-eating flying mammal (6-6,3) 18 Patriotic (4,4) 21 Refuse to accept (6) 23 Deadeye Annie (6) 24 For the few (8) 25 Ghastly (8) 26 SA leader --- Marshall (6)
Down 1 Not too many (3,2,3) 2 Vast (6) 3 Gets cracking (6,2) 4 Long NW Australian coastal strip (6,4,5) 5 Instead (2,4) 6 Worried (8) 7 East Mediterranean democracy (6) 15 Inhabitants (8) 16 Playful dolphin relative (8) 17 Place for old documents (8) 19 Grounds (6) 20 Give the pink slip (3,3) 22 Bullying seabird (6)
Answers to above CROSSWORD ANSWERS: Across: 8 Inmost, 9 Ian Walsh, 10 Rod Marsh, 11 In a way, 12 Stocks, 13 Yourself, 14 Golden-tipped bat, 18 True blue, 21 Reject, 23 Oakley, 24 Esoteric, 25 Horrific, 26 Steven. Down: 1 One or two, 2 Cosmic, 3 Starts in, 4 Eighty Mile Beach, 5 In lieu, 6 Harassed, 7 Israel, 15 Dwellers, 16 Porpoise, 17 Archives, 19 Reason, 20 Lay off, 22 Jaeger.
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