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 by 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, we have begun a new chapter in the long history of the Cook Cove Precinct. The rebirth of the Precinct will happen over the next 10 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 and the Heritage Market Gardens, new cycle and pedestrian pathways and small parks to enjoy the Cooks River and Airport views.
The relocation is necessary to enable 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 10 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 $200m of community benefits in the public domain and environment remediation works arising from the golf course relocation. 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.