Pocket parks face renewed threat, says reserves group
Pocket parks on the Peninsula are under threat again, according to a group which fought to save them in 2015.
The Save Central Coast Reserves community group founder Ms Sue Chidgey said Central Coast Council's draft Local Strategic Planning Statement suggests the parks might be "better utilised" or "reinvested in alternative locations".
Six Peninsula were proposed for sale in 2015: at Mackenzie Ave and Jumbuck Close in Woy Woy, and at Pozieres Ave, Brisbane Ave and Albion St in Umina, and in Memorial Ave, Blackwall.
"My worry is that Council is again considering taking away the suburban small-pocket parks to replace them with large regional playgrounds," said Ms Chidgey.
"I'm very worried that our vital urban assets could be a risk again if Council approves its strategy about open space," she said.
"Every suburb should have reserves, playgrounds and green spaces for residents' wellbeing - to exercise, to sit in nature, for children to play.
"A mum should be able to put her child in a stroller and walk to a green space.
"Large regional parks cannot, and should not, replace small suburban reserves and residents should not have to get in a car and travel to access the benefits of a park.
"This is more and more important as the area moves to more medium density housing and it is also vital for the local environment and native animals and not put them at risk from the loss of urban green assets.
"I want residents to be aware that they need to cherish what they've got so they don't lose it.
"I don't want it to get to the point where we have specific parks being flagged and if this strategy about parks goes through it sets things up for that to happen.
"We have to nip it in the bud," Chidgey said.
Save Woy Woy Waterfront president Mr Ross Cochrane said the group was looking at the entire document and what it meant for the Peninsula as a whole.
Residents for Responsible Ettalong Development, Save Our Woy Woy and Umina-based Grow Urban Shade Trees community groups all issued statements saying they were examining the document.
The deadline to have the plan ratified by the State Department of Planning is July 1.
Council director Mr Scott Cox said a well-considered and consistent approach to planning was required to ensure that the forecast population growth was provided for and managed in a sustainable manner.
"The land use vision, planning priorities and 82 short, medium and long-term actions outlined in the Planning Statement will guide Council's future strategies, plans and policies and sets in place actions to be included in upcoming Delivery Programs and Operational Plans," Mr Cox said.
Media release, 8 May 2020
Central Coast Council.
Interview (Sue Murray), 12 May 2020
Sue Chidgey, Save Central Coast Reserves
Media statement, 13 May 2020
Ross Cochrane, Save Woy Woy Waterfront