The Randwick terminus of the in-development Sydney Light Rail CBD and South East rail line has been moved away from High Cross Park following pushback from the local community and Randwick Council.
Locals were concerned over the impact the original plan could have on High Cross Park, which includes 33 trees and an historic war memorial.
Randwick City Council proposed an alternative terminus at the corner of High Street and Avoca Street, beside the Prince of Whales Hospital, where a new plaza will be developed.
NSW minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance said the move was made as part of a wider renewal proposal for the High Street precinct championed by Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith and Randwick Council.
“This is about integrating the aspirations of the local community with the transport needs of the future,” Constance said.
“Over the last eight months the Light Rail team has worked with the Council, Health Infrastructure and the University of NSW to develop a number of design modifications that we will seek in relation to the High Street Precinct.”
The minister said the government had been clear when it approved the initial design, telling Randwick Council it had the opportunity to present an alternative proposal.
“They have introduced a substantial number of new elements in a highly professional and collaborative process,” Constance said.
“I caution that this is still subject to a number of steps and that modifying a design is a major undertaking, but we are all working to the same objective and there is complete support from all parties to the benefits light rail will bring to the area.”
It is also now proposed that a transformer required to assist in powering the network will be buried under a section of High Cross Park rather than remain above ground as originally planned, Transport for NSW said.
As well as changing the design of the High Street Terminus, modifications will also be sought for the University of NSW site on High Street, creating two ‘side platforms’ and reducing the potential for interference from the light rail network with the University’s sensitive research facilities, the department added.
NSW health minister Jillian Skinner welcomed the changes, which she said would give Sydney Children’s Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital patients, visitors and staff better access to the new line.
“I’m delighted at this outcome, which will make using light rail an even more attractive option for the thousands of staff, patients and visitors who come to our hospitals,” Skinner said.