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    Could Sydney’s North Shore get its own High Line park?

    Geraldine Chua

    Sydney’s Lavender Bay is one step closer to getting its own New York-style High Line, pending approval of an Environmental Application by Sydney Trains and funding by the NSW government.

    Inspired by similar restorative initiatives in Paris and New York City, plans for new walking trails to be installed next to the rail road between the Lavender Bay and Waverton stations were first raised in a 2016 meeting attended by 200 local residents.

    The design concepts include a 3.3km linear park connecting several notable public spaces, including Ball’s Head Reserve, Wendy’s ‘Secret Garden’, Harry’s Park, Luna Park, the Olympic Pool and the Harbour Bridge.

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    An aerial map showing the proposed path of the Sydney Harbour High Line. 

    “A key objective is to make the existing harbour side parklands such as The Coal Loader/Ball’s Head Reserve…more readily accessible to the huge influx of people expected to take up residence in the medium and high density developments that are planned for the stretch of land between St. Leonards and North Sydney,” the Sydney Harbour High Line (SHHL) Association notes.

    The pedestrian walkway will run through a 310m long tunnel, which is expected to be a “significant tourist attraction” featuring a cathedral ceiling that offers opportunities for visual displays, similar in style and quality to the Argyle Cut at Vivid Sydney. 

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    Vivid 2012: The Argyle Cut at the Rocks. Photography by Robert Montgomery.

    Unlike the High Line in New York City, the SHHL will be built and used in conjunction with Sydney Trains and Transport Heritage NSW. A 1.8m high colorbond pool-style fence will separate trains from pedestrians for the full length of the linear park. 

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    The proposal has support from local and state government. In 2017, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian told the SHHL association that the current government will not sell off the land in the event it is not needed for railway use. This was supported by a later statement by Chris Muir, Chief of Staff for the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure:

    “I can confirm that the Minister and Sydney Trains have agreed that work to create a walking path along the Lavender Bar Spur can commence on the side where tracks have been removed, before the active rail line is closed on the other side of the spur.”

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    Proposed ramp access from Harbourview Cres utilising the spoil from the Metro Rail excavations

    Sydney Trains has started investigation work for the relocation of the existing service troughing—a process it advises could take around four months.

    If realised, the SHHL will be under the care of the North Sydney Council. For a full report of the proposal, click here.

    Images courtesy of the Sydney Harbour High Line.

     

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