Cred's Jen Guice smiling as she talks to stakeholders in Sydney Olympic Park

Reimagining the future of Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Sydney Olympic Park 2050 Place Vision and Strategy consultation

The announcement that the Sydney Metro will have a station at Sydney Olympic Park created the catalyst for a considered long-term vision and strategy to be developed with community and stakeholders to ensure Sydney Olympic Park can reach its true potential.

In July 2021, SGS Economics and Planning were appointed as project lead along with Cred Consulting as community and stakeholder engagement lead for the Sydney Olympic Park 2050 Place Vision and Strategy project. Cred Consulting designed and delivered a Covid-safe engagement program that sought to build trust, allow a mix of stakeholders to hear from each other, and was inclusive through targeted consultation with a broad range of stakeholders representing the diverse interests in Sydney Olympic Park.

Cred Consulting in partnership with First Nations community and engagement specialist, Susan Moylan-Coombs (Gaimaragal Group) took a First Nations first approach to the engagement. A bespoke Acknowledgement of Country specifically celebrating the 70,000 years of continuous significance of the place to First Nations people was developed and shared at all engagement events; we undertook First Nations stakeholder mapping and identification (which revealed a Traditional Owner Wangal woman, with whom Sydney Olympic Park Authority did not have a relationship previously); and we held a First Nations focus group and asked a line of questioning about care for Country throughout the broad engagement. First Nations voices and visions for the future were elevated throughout the consultation.

How we did it

Our engagement program consisted of the following:

  • Five online community focus groups, targeting the following stakeholders:
    • Visitors from surrounding suburbs
    • Visitors from across Greater Sydney
    • Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) residents
    • Young people (aged 15-18) who live in and around Sydney Olympic Park
    • Local residents
  • An online First Nations stakeholder focus group
  • Seventeen stakeholder interviews
  • Three online round table sessions with targeted stakeholders
  • One online round table session with NSW Government stakeholders
  • An online community survey
  • An online stakeholder survey
  • Online consultation with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority Board, staff, DPIE Reference Group, Project Control Group and Parklands Advisory Committee
  • An engagement webpage that contained project information, the online community survey, mapping tool and a ‘love letter’ engagement activity
  • A full day face-to-face visioning workshop
  • Webinar.

Director, Jen Guice, welcomes guests to our on-site visioning workshop.

Collective visioning

Despite an extensive lockdown in Sydney throughout the consultation period, the engagement was successful in reaching the breadth of stakeholders with interest in Sydney Olympic Park.

Throughout the consultation, Cred used consistent lines of questioning for all cohorts, which allowed the themes and ideas to build on each time we spoke to a new group of people. One activity developed a ‘word cloud’ of words participants wanted to use to describe Sydney Olympic Park in 2050. Over 1000 words were submitted to create the word cloud, which points to the collective vision.

Cred drew on creative elements to enhance the consultation experience. This included the development of an illustrative brand design that was used consistently throughout the project to help identify it, the development of a Sydney Olympic Park 2050 video, a ‘gallery of community sentiment’ was designed and installed at the visioning workshop to ensure the voice of all the community was in the room. We engaged the Jannawi Dance Clan to perform and welcome participants to Wangal Country ahead of the visioning workshop. We engaged local residents and workers as “local ambassadors” to guide participants on a brief walk and talk so they could share their experiences of Sydney Olympic Park from their perspective ahead of the visioning workshop, and we recorded the deliberations throughout the full-day visioning workshop in a graphically-illustrated mural which was live-drawn throughout the day.

Collective visioning was live-drawn by The Visual Storytellers. (Photo: Matthew Duchesne).

The consultation identified eleven key themes for the vision and strategy to address. The consultation outcomes were used iteratively to inform the next phase of engagement. For example, the outcomes from the stakeholder interviews, roundtables, community focus groups and surveys were used to design the content to be tested during the discovery phase of the Visioning Workshop.

The outcome

A Welcome to Wangal Country was performed by in-residence First Nations dance troupe, Jannawi Dancers. (Photo: Matthew Duchesne).

Cred is proud to have been the engagement lead and social infrastructure and community needs specialist consultant in a consortia of consultants supporting SGS Economics and Planning to co-create the community-led 2050 Vision and Strategy over eight months.

Cred provided advice to the consortia regarding the social infrastructure needs of the current and future community at Sydney Olympic Park – a particularly important consideration in such a high-growth suburb, where the local community have historically had restricted access to the facilities there.

On 30 June 2022, the NSW Government announced its bold new vision for the future Sydney Olympic Park to become ‘Sydney’s Beating Green Heart‘. Proposing a highly-connected series of diverse neighbourhoods and experiences, and a commitment for more than half of all housing to be diverse, innovative and affordable by 2050, the Vision will unlock so much environmental, cultural, social and recreational potential for the City of Parramatta, the Central River City, and for NSW.