In recent years we have seen Brookvale transform into a thriving creative and community hub, however there are widespread concerns that the coming 2023 Brookvale Structure Plan will undermine this.
Brookie’s boom in breweries, coffee roasters, surf manufacturers, industrial designers and artists has revitalised the suburb and been a blessing for local residents and businesses alike.
The businesses – often attracted to Brookvale’s larger spaces, affordable rents, and gritty, industrial aesthetic – have created a strong community that fosters collaboration, idea-sharing, and mutual support.
Their combined success has been aided by the Brookvale Arts District (BAD), an organisation created to maintain and enhance Brookvale’s existing creative and industrial fabric.
However, with Northern Beaches Council 2023 Brookvale Structure Plan proposing 1300 new apartments in buildings of up to 12 stories, there are widespread concerns, that the plan could drive gentrification and destroy the live music and night-time economy.
How Council Can Get The Brookvale Structure Plan Right
While it is inevitable that change is coming to Brookvale, how the Council implements the Structure Plan will ultimately make or break the creative foundations that Brookvale is built on.
First announced in 2017, the latest iteration of the Brookvale Structure Plan is now under review – along with the 305 public submissions – and we will be unlikely to hear any further updates until 2024.
During this analysis period, Pine Property urges Council to ensure the following resources, infrastructure, and investments are allocated to stimulating and supporting culture, creativity and community in Brookvale.
Policies that protect affordable housing: This is a proven strategy that can help artists remain in areas seeing gentrification. However, the Brookvale Structure Plan’s current affordable housing target is only 5 per cent. This is half of Council’s commitment to “seeking a minimum of 10 per cent affordable rental housing to be included in new planning proposals”.
Zoning Regulations: Brookvale’s Structure Plan must protect creative spaces, including designating certain areas as creative zones, or establishing regulations that prioritise the needs of creative communities.
Developer “Creativity Incentives”: Providing incentives to developers such as tax breaks to incorporate creative spaces into new developments will help ensure that as Brookvale expands, so does the culture upon which it is built.
Fund Cultural Spaces: Council must increase funding and support for cultural spaces in Brookvale, such as galleries, performance venues, and artist studios to help support and celebrate the work of local artists.
Involve creative communities in planning: Ensuring that local creative communities, like the Brookvale Arts District, are continually consulted throughout the planning process will help deliver a Structure Plan that is better for everybody.
Creative Use of Public Spaces: Encouraging art installations, performances, and events with local artists – and minimising red tape to deliver them – will drive adoption and help to maintain Brookvale’s cultural fabric.
Risks if Council Get it Wrong
If the above strategies are not embraced as a priority in the Brookvale Structure Plan, we risk losing the artistic values, unique identity and community spirit that has made the suburb famous.
We risk economic loss for all the businesses who have built these values. We risk losing the artists and businesses who have woven Brookvale’s social fabric. And we face a loss of the innovation that creative hubs deliver.
All eyes will be on Council’s revised plan when it comes – likely in 2024.