Sydney Park Water Re-use Launch

(12.30pm, Sydney Park)

Thank you, Simon [Walkom]. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the opening of our Sydney Park Water Re-use project.

This $11.3 million upgrade of Sydney Park wetlands is the City's largest system for harvesting storm-water.

It can harvest up to 1,0000 litres a second in a major storm, and will capture and clean around 890 mega-litres each year, providing a sustainable water supply for the park and for its wetland rehabilitation.

Any remaining water will be cleaned and return to the Alexandria Canal. We built the system in partnership with the former Australian Government's project Water for the Future initiative, which contributed $5.4 million to our $11.3 million for the Sydney Park system.

As part of the upgrade, we've created new pathways and viewing platforms through the wetlands, with a water cascade, bridges and picnic tables. To date, we have installed two of three new public sculptures planned across all three of the wetlands, with the final artwork to be installed in the near future.

I'd like to offer our warm thanks to our designers - Turf Design, Environmental Partnership and Alluvium; to Design Landscapes for the construction, and to our own City Projects team - Sarah Scott, Adam Fowler and Damon La'Rance. You have all done a terrific job in making Sydney Park an outstanding regional park.

Since 2004, we have invested $23.25 million in capital works to transform a derelict former brick-making site into a varied and attractive regional park, offering ample scope for active and passive recreation for all ages, a much-needed green lung for this heavily populated part of Sydney.

Earlier projects created the café, the award-winning children's play area and the cycling centre with its new track and expanded riding areas. Now we're working on the City Farm for next year. The concept design we put on public exhibition a few months ago includes a terraced area for crops, an orchard, bush-tucker plants, native bees and herbs. There's also a market place and areas for learning and sharing ideas.

We're also planning a new child-care centre near the bike track, with extra public toilets and picnic and barbecue areas for families.

We estimate at least one million people a year already use this park. Perhaps half of them are from the local government area, the rest travel from across Sydney to spend time here with their families.

The immediate catchment area for the park has 750,000 residents. And more are coming. By 2030, there will be an estimated population of over 53,000 at Green Square. By 2027, development of the Ashmore Estate will boost the local population by another 6,300, and of course there is intense redevelopment under way to the south.

Whilst urban consolidation is responsible, greater densities work only when they are accompanied by the appropriate facilities - most importantly, but enlarged and improved green public spaces, transport and community facilities.

This is why the City has expended so much care and expense on providing parks and green spaces across the LGA, from the big waterfront parks like those at Glebe and Pyrmont, to pocket parks and playgrounds and street plantings - 105 parks so far.

Sydney Park is now a fantastic example of a much-loved, and much-needed open space, and of the benefits it can bring to a community and to a whole city.

This only makes the more disastrous the proposal to widen Campbell Road and Euston Road, shaving off part of the park for WestConnex and to have at least 33,000 cars a day existing at St Peters and 50,000 by 2030. This will mean more traffic around the park edges, more vehicle noise and emissions and a degradation of the experience the park can offer its users.

The City will continue to oppose the plans for WestConnex by working with other Mayors and local Members, which will have negative impacts across the city even as it fails to deal with the transport needs of the areas it is purporting to serve. I urge you to continue to make your voices heard, too.

Our celebrations today include a costume-making workshop and children's parade, the refreshments and the Taronga Zoo animal display. And remember that next Sunday, everyone is invited to help green Sydney Park as part of National Tree Day.

We'll have 4,000 seedlings at the southern end of the park, and you can leave with an espresso-to-grow cup or a plantable ice-cream cone. There'll also be plenty of children's activities, and a sausage sizzle, so hope to see you there. And have a great day, today.