What is the agreement between Council and Telstra?
On 24 March 2015, Council and Telstra entered into a formal agreement: “Deed: Works and Easement.” Under this agreement:
· Telstra is to demolish the front section of the Exchange Building. It will require other changes to the building including a new entry at the rear and internal alterations.
· Telstra is then to grant to Council an easement for the front of its site where the building has been demolished. This easement will allow Council to convert the area into urban open space and will allow the public to walk across the area, sit and gather on the area. This easement is not limited in time but gives rights that continue indefinitely.
· Council is to reimburse Telstra for the costs of demolition and alterations to its building in an agreed amount based on estimated costings. However, Telstra has agreed to grant the easement to Council for free, without requiring Council to pay a purchase cost.
· Council is then to embellish the site for public use.
Telstra has lodged its Development Application seeking consent to the demolition. Council is now engaging with the public on the design of the public space.
What are the limitations of the site?
The size of the area
was limited by the building and the scope to make alterations to meet Telstra’s operational requirements. The draft
design combines the 160m2 of Telstra’s site with the footpath to
create a larger space. The wall at the
rear of the open space is part of Telstra’s building and any treatment must be
agreed by Telstra. Due to underground cables
and wires, there is a depth limit which prevents the planting of large trees. Trees may need to be contained in planter boxes. There is also a height restriction.