Mary O'Brien Reserve Opening

(11am, Saturday 22 November 2014, Mary O'Brien Reserve, Zetland)

Thank you, Stephen [Gilby], good morning, everyone. Welcome to our newest Sydney park.

The original park, Mary O'Brien Reserve, has been in Zetland since the 1960s, when it was named for a former member of Waterloo Council and a champion of charitable, aged and youth organisations for 50 years.

As some of you know, the renewal and expansion of this park has been in the works for over a decade!

In 2003, the former South Sydney Council endorsed a master plan for redeveloping the EMAIL site—called that because it was previously home to the Electricity Meter & Allied Industries Ltd.

EMAIL is an important part of the history of this area—established early last century and providing work for many locals, manufacturing electric, gas and water meters. After the war, the company also produced refrigerators — and it still does this today under the company name Electrolux.

After EMAIL moved, approval to redevelop the site required some land to be dedicated as public open space — leading to this new park amalgamating the original reserve, some former industrial land and the laneway in between.

An original design was developed in consultation with the local community in 2004.

But development took some time. Construction didn't begin until 2010 and many new people moved into the area during that time.

In 2012, residents contacted me about the park design. We met in late 2012 and again in March last year to discuss changes.

The site developer, Lateral Corporation agreed to update the design and location of facilities in response to this community consultation.

Lateral Corporation has done the construction and landscaping for the park including remediating the site to clean up remnants of the former industrial uses—the electricity meters, pumps, radio parts and refrigerators that were once manufactured here.

And the result is a park more than twice its previous size, which will be dedicated to the City for the enjoyment of the growing local community.

There are two new playgrounds, new barbecues, picnic settings and new seating.

Most of the existing trees have been retained and over 40 new trees and shrubs have been planted, the lighting's improved and local traffic management has also been improved by closing McPherson Lane and opening Lamond Lane.

A major new stormwater culvert has been installed along Joynton Avenue to improve regional stormwater management.

Unfortunately, the Reserve's re-opening was delayed as further essential work to meet State Government required environmental standards had to be carried out.

I would like to thank:

  • the land owners, Nick and Terry Andriotakis of Cronos Corporation
  • the developers Tony Johnson, George Canlis, John Bakopoulos and Shannon Brown of Lateral Estates
  • landscape architect Liam Noble of Sturt Noble Associates
  • our contractors, Waterside Construction and
  • our City staff, Brett Calear, Ali Rajaratnam and Wayne Gooding of the Public Domain team.

Now I'd like to unveil the plaque and officially open this virtually new park for our long-time residents as well as the growing new community.