Gateway proposal 'Opera House' of Wollongong

The master plan for The Bass and Flinders Gateway proposed for the former Quattro site.
The master plan for The Bass and Flinders Gateway proposed for the former Quattro site.

The Bass and Flinders Gateway could be Wollongong's version of the Sydney Opera House, which is why its opponents should "grow up and get over it".

That is the view of Gateway Wollongong director Jan Lindrum, who has been leading the charge for the massive city-centre development since 2011.

On Tuesday, the developer brushed off concerns about her proposal's lack of detail, excessive building heights and overshadowing, which were raised in an independent consultant's report to the regional planning authority.

"First let me say, it's time for the city to grow up," she said.

"The consultants have expressed a particular view on certain aspects of the project, [but] as far as we're concerned the project is well and truly alive and kicking, and a cogent response [to their concerns] will be delivered."

Ms Lindrum said the Bass and Flinders plan offered Wollongong an "incredible opportunity", as it was designed by award-winning international architect Stephen Pimbley and could be Wollongong's answer to Jorn Utzon's Opera House.

"Stephen Pimbley shares something, I believe, with the famous architect Utzon," Ms Lindrum said.

"He has an ability to see into the future, and the project sits within the [future] vision of the city.

"Will there be shadows? Yes. Cities have shadows, shadows are part and parcel of a city."

For this reason, she hoped the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) - due to assess a rezoning plan for the project later this month - would be able to overlook significant variations to Wollongong's height controls.

"[Mr Pimbley] saw it as this reflection of the escarpment and the city, and he has this mindset to see what this city will look like into the future," she said.

"He believes this is what the plan should be and I'm very hopeful that the JRPP will see the significance of adopting a concept that an international architect believes to be the right one.

"You can only hope. It's like the Opera House ... look at the controversy that surrounded that."

The consultants also raised questions about how the site, owned by multiple parties, would be amalgamated to allow for development to go ahead.

Ms Lindrum said she could not yet provide certainty about how this issue would be addressed.

"I don't want to comment on decision-making in this city, but the ideal scenario would have been to have a site that wasn't broken up," she said.

Ms Lindrum urged residents who supported the development to "speak up in its favour", and invited them to attend the JRPP meeting at Wollongong City Council chambers on August 29.


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