The Cook Cove precinct has been earmarked for development since the late 1990s and has evolved through many iterations. The first iteration of the project began when the Cook Cove Development Corporation (CCDC) was created by the NSW Government, under the Growth Centre Development Corporations Act 1974, to facilitate the redevelopment of the site. In 2001, CCDC appointed the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) as its agent to manage the project.
In 2004, the Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 33 – Cook Cove (SREP 33) was gazetted and established the primary planning framework for the site. In 2005, John Boyd Properties on behalf of Kogarah Golf Club (KGC) initiated a Stage 1 Development Application (DA) for the redevelopment of the site, which was approved by Rockdale City Council in December 2006. The Stage 1 DA principally approved a new Kogarah Golf Course and Clubhouse, a 270,000m2 business park within the Trade and Technology Zone and associated public domain and environmental management works.
In 2008 and 2009, $8m worth of significant open space improvement works were undertaken offsite at Scarborough and Bicentennial Parks in the Rockdale LGA in order to facilitate the relocation of sporting clubs and the pending redevelopment of the Cook Cove site. However, following the global financial crisis, the project was placed into voluntary administration and the original plans for the site abandoned.
In late 2013, John Boyd Properties submitted a Stage 1 Unsolicited Proposal that outlined key components of the project. Following a review, overseen by a probity advisor, the Government committee advised in late 2014 that the proposal did not meet the relevant assessment criteria for Unsolicited Proposals, in particular the uniqueness criteria. Furthermore, the longer term land use planning for the locality and future alignments of the WestConnex and F6 Corridor were not sufficiently resolved at this time.
The Government tasked UrbanGrowth Development Corporation to facilitate discussions with landowners, Bayside Council (previously Rockdale City Council) and other stakeholders to finalise a planning pathway for the site and to determine what land uses would best meet the future needs of government and the community.
Following stakeholder consultation and further analysis of the project, in May 2015, Council resolved to nominate the Cook Cove site as a Priority Precinct as an appropriate planning pathway for the site. Detailed and rigorous investigations were undertaken in 2015 and 2016 by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment which culminated in the site being included within the draft Bayside West Land Use and Infrastructure Strategy released in November 2016.
The development application for the Southern Precinct will be formally assessed by Bayside Council and evaluated by the Sydney Central Planning Panel, as the independent consent authority. The relocation of the golf course to the southern precinct is consistent with the planning controls (being SREP 33 – Cooks Cove and the Cooks Cove Masterplan) that have applied to the land since 2004, and in no way relates to changes to the Crown Lands Act.
With the submission of the Southern Precinct DA, a new chapter in the long history of the Cook Cove Precinct has begun.
Following extensive consultation with the community, a decision has been made to submit an amended DA, which incorporates the community’s feedback. This enhanced DA is currently planned to be submitted to Bayside Council in early-2018.
The purpose of best-practice community consultation is to take on board the different perspectives of all members of the community and make amendments where feasible and appropriate. Based on community feedback through open information sessions, the submissions made to Bayside Council, and feedback from the various government agencies under the referral process, several improvements have been made to the original concept with a view to securing enhanced environmental and biodiversity outcomes, increased liveability, improved use of open space and increased public access for the community.
The amended development application also includes the new Clubhouse. By incorporating the clubhouse, all elements of the proposed new golf course will be covered by one comprehensive development application, ensuring enhanced visibility across the entire process.
The rebirth of the Precinct will happen over the next 15 years with the first public benefits of the Golf Course relocation being seen within 24 months. The relocation will mean the rejuvenation of the Landing Lights Wetland, Spring Street Wetland and Arncliffe Market Gardens, new cycle and pedestrian pathways, pocket parks and a new Headland Reserve to enjoy the Cooks River and Airport views.
The relocation of the Kogarah Golf Club is necessary to facilitate the extensive rehabilitation of contaminated land and the delivery of a substantial suite of public domain facilities through the redevelopment of the previous golf course land owned by Kogarah Golf Club into the new Cook Cove mixed-use development. The Cook Cove project will provide new homes and jobs for the wider region over the next 5 to 15 years. The relocation of the course will facilitate new recreation, sporting, community and civic facilities in both the Southern and Northern Precincts.
In total, there will be more than approximately $400 million of community benefits in the public domain, civic and community facilities and environment remediation works arising from the golf course relocation in the Northern and Southern Precincts. Through the Cook Cove project, the public will have access to FIFA standard synthetic playing and training fields, a new NSW Premier League grade stadium with seating for 750 people, new and improved shared pedestrian and cycle links, high quality public parks, and other community facilities.