New South Wales
I write to further object to the Museum Discovery Centre at Castle Hill.
My earlier objections were not responded to.
I was the Founding Director of the Powerhouse Museum [1979-1988] and later Director of the Royal Ontario Museum- Canada's 'Smithsonian'- and
London's Science Museum Group with over five separate museums and museum sites- the largest such group in the world.
My career stretches from the Science Museum in London  until now, as a consultant.
I specifically know about Castle Hill being the Founding Director of the PHM and having instituted Castle Hill's redevelopment in 1982.
Like other objectors to this development such as Ms Kylie Winkworth, Ms Jennifer Sanders, Mr Lionel Glendenning and Mr Andrew Grant-
together we combine over 205 years of museological training, management, planning expertise and experience- I know whereof I write.
Each of them has specific knowledge of Castle Hill through direct involvement with MAAS planning over decades.
I object to this project on the following grounds:
1) One of the main stated objectives of this expansion is to provide this Sydney Region and, indeed, all of Sydney with greater access to the MAAS collections. This is a nonsense since the highest and best access for the general public is to the present Ultimo museum site which lies at the centre of Sydney's transport hub system. For specialist visitors the Castle Hill site is remote and far less accessible than the Harwood Building in Ultimo [see below].
2) The transport assessment report predicates a relatively steady state in respect of Castle Hill visitation which directly contradicts the propaganda circulated by boosters of this project that its extension/creation will much expand access to the MAAS collections. In particular, the 54 parking spaces [less perhaps 10 for weekend staff vehicles] clearly underestimates the demand for parking by families who wish to visit on weekends and holidays. This material contradiction would suggest that either MAAS really is not going to increase visitation and access, or there will be major issues of overloaded parking requirements at times of peak demand. Most families and especially those with disabled members need to travel by automobile especially when the children are young or elderly family members are included. Parking is a critical factor in facilitating visitation and the lack of a SURVEY of visitors establishing what they need and want in terms of access is a major flaw in this planning aspect.
3) Access for large and Very Large Objects is entirely sub optimal and yet it appears that most of the VLOs will be removed from Ultimo and sequestered here in Castle Hill. Just inspecting the floor layout and road angles would indicate this critical aspect has not been properly analysed
4) The overbuilding of this site is self evident. Such over development should not be permitted since it has long term implications for the people of the area.
5) The destruction of the unique essential oils plantation- a core part of the heritage of MAAS- which was instituted in the late 1930s into the 1940s and may well be the last extant such example -is simply wanton. Replanting elsewhere around the site is no substitute. No serious research has been undertaken into the social, economic and cultural heritage of this remnant in preparation of this development and it is simply being destroyed in an unacceptable fashion. A recent paper by Mr Chris Betteridge [attached] demonstrates conclusively [like in other areas and issues raised above] that this suite of sub-optimal 'expert' reports and statements is drivel.
6) Difficulty of access for specialist visitors and staff is effectively white - washed by the supporting documentation attached to this EIS. A serious SURVEY of interested parties would show that the facile assumptions underlying the transport report and by the MAAS management appear just amateur and self serving in the opinion of this objector. The collectors, donors and experts who have for forty years accessed the collections in the Harwood Building will, effectively, be faced with far greater challenges of time and distance than at present. If they are in any way physically disabled or elderly it will be much more challenging.
7) Although perhaps not germane to this EIS the very real increase in cost, time, distance and handling of objects and services will result in long term damage to MAAS efficiency and effectiveness.
8) The increased risk to the public caused by movement of VLOs/other objects and goods and by much increased visitation into and within the site has been powerfully underestimated in this collection of documents. Impacts on TAFE operations are also underestimated it seems.
9) the complete lack of any B C Analysis and any Business Case with stated visitation assumptions makes comment on this EIS documentation exceptionally difficult which, presumably, is the intent of Government and MAAS management.
10) It is self evident that Government and MAAS leadership have presided over a profoundly sub-optimal development application and 'supporting' documentation in the full knowledge that, as an SSP, this project will elude correct, forensic and detailed expert analysis and contradiction demonstrating its many faults and failings and its evasion of key health and safety issues threatening the public both visitors to the site, public servants as site visitors and surrounding citizens- part residential and part 'exogenous' travellers alike.
Critical and contradictory assumptions appear to have been made which seem to demonstrate a parlous level of planning ability and a cavalier disregard for operational best practice and sound and effective/efficient management of this facility linked, as it will be, by tenuous and ineffectual transport systems at a significant distance to Ultimo and Parramatta. Above all, th risks still extant are paramount and deeply concerning health and safety