Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Community and Environmental Facility at White Street

This is a comment on Development Application: D/2007/31, 31 White St, Lilyfield NSW 2040: "$500,000 Alterations and additions to existing building".

This was previously described as the "Community and Environmental Facility at White Street", in the Leichhardt Municipal Council Media Release 19 January 2004:
"Concept plans for a new and unique multi-use community facility in Annandale ... The major focus of the project is to retain as much of the existing structure as possible whilst incorporating many innovative environmental features. The plans include composting toilets, on site waste water treatment, use of solar and wind power and community veggie gardens. ... The design of the centre incorporates meeting rooms, office space and an education centre. ..."
While the media release talks about "composting toilets, on site waste water treatment, use of solar and wind power", of these only a solar hot water system appears to be included in the plans submitted for the building. Composting toilets, on site waste water treatment, and wind power appear to have been dropped.

I suggest enhancing the water conservation features which are in the design by:
  1. Increasing the size of the proposed water tank and expanding its use,
  2. Increasing the water saving rating of fixtures from AAA to AAAA.
Also I suggest the council place all future plans, online for community consultation. By not providing the detailed plans online the council is excluding a large section of the community from consultation and is increasing the cost of the planning process.


The plans include a 5,000 l rainwater tank for watering the gardens. But the tank is too small and too limited in use to make a significant contribution to water savings. I suggest the tank be increased by six times to about 30,000 litres in capacity and the water be used for flushing the toilets as well as watering the garden. A larger tank would not take up significantly more space. nor significantly increase the cost of the project. It would provide much greater water savings.

Comparison of tank sizes:

Capacity (Litres) Height (m) Diameter (m) Cost Model
5,000 2.08 1.83 $1,190.00 1913
27,000 2.67 3.85 $3,793.00 2046

Tanks and prices from Irrigation Warehouse used for comparison.


The plans call for Water Services Association Australia (WSAA) AAA (3A) rated water fixtures. I suggest this be increased to the more efficient AAAA (4A) rating.


Local authorities, such as that of the ACT, publish the full details of development applications online. The Leichhardt Municipal Council does not appear to do this and instead just publishes a list of applications and then requires the community to obtain a paper copy of the plans.

In the case of the Facility at White Street, the consultants were required by the Council to provide their plans in an electronic format. It should therefore have not been difficult to provide these online.

Not providing the plans online reduces the ability of the community be consulted. It also increases the cost to the Council (and ultimately to the community) by having to produce and distribute more paper copies. I suggest the Council implement an online process.


* Technology for Energy and Water Efficient Houses
* Energy and Water Saving Books and Products

ps: If you are wondering why someone with a Canberra address is commenting on part of Sydney, I spend part of my time there:

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