Have your say about the new public space for Balmain

Inner West Council is partnering with Telstra in a project that will create a new landscaped public space on the corner of Darling and Montague streets.

The idea for the project dates back to the 2004 Masterplan for Darling Street Balmain. The Masterplan envisaged the demolition of the front section of the Telstra Exchange, the creation of public space, and the reinstatement of the view of the heritage post office building.

With the encouragement and assistance of the Balmain Association and residents, Council has pursued an agreement with Telstra to realise this vision.

The telephone exchange building was opened in 1914. The front section of the current building was built by the Commonwealth in about 1957. It was built hard up against the heritage post office building, damaging some decorative features and requiring removal of a balcony.

The front section blocks views of the heritage post office building from areas around the Darling, Rowntree and Montague Streets intersection.

“This project has been a very long time coming,” said Administrator of Inner West Council Richard Pearson. “The former Leichhardt Council has been negotiating with Telstra on behalf of residents for many, many years.

“That it will create new public space is great, but the fact that it will also restore part of the historic centre of Balmain and reopen the long closed off side view of the Balmain Post Office and Clock Tower is fantastic.

“I’m very proud of staff for bringing this long-held ambition to fruition, and I want to thank Telstra and the Balmain Association for their assistance and cooperation,” Mr Pearson said.

Former Mayor of Leichhardt and member of Council’s Implementation Advisory Group Darcy Byrne urged everyone to have their say on the project.

“I want to hear ideas from residents about what is needed to make this space a genuine attraction for locals and visitors,” he said.

"Everyone knows Darling Street needs a shot in the arm and the objective of this project must be to bring this corner of Darling Street to life,” he said.

Under the agreement, Council will reimburse Telstra for the costs of demolition and alterations to the building. In return, Telstra will grant the easement to Council for free. Council will then embellish the site for public use.

Council is now asking citizens for feedback on the draft design of the new public space. Comment is invited through the Inner West Council Your Say page. View the draft design, see the agreement between Council and Telstra, and make suggestions at

www.yoursayinnerwest.com.au

Council staff and the landscape architect will hold a drop-in session at corner Darling and Montague Streets Balmain, Wednesday 1 March 10am-12pm, and Saturday 4 March 10am-12pm.

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018