Bourke Street & Walla Mulla Park Opening

(12pm 20 August 2011, Bourke Street Park, Woolloomooloo)

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to this renewed park. I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

Today we're officially re-opening Bourke Street and Walla Mulla Parks after their upgrades. I want to thank you all for your ideas and suggestions that have helped us improve them. Many of you came to our workshops about our Woolloomooloo Improvements Plan and made important suggestions for the area, and these improvements are one result.

In the 1970s, as many of you will remember, Woolloomooloo was slated for wholesale redevelopment, sweeping away the housing and building high-rise towers.

A massive social campaign, with the support of the green bans, saved it and in 1982, 16 murals funded by the City and other agencies, were painted on the viaduct pylons, telling the story of that great campaign.

They are now being restored.

Other work here includes improved landscaping, new grass and retaining walls. We've installed new paving and park furniture and exercise equipment to encourage healthy lifestyles.

There's a new toilet block with better facilities, a purpose built secure space and pergola for a future community garden, and a storage shed for the garden.

Water collected from the toilet block will be reused to flush toilets. There will also be collected water from the viaduct through a system of downpipes which feed into a filtration pit. That water will be pumped up into tanks in that fenced off area and used for irrigation of the park and community garden.

Just around the corner form here, Walla Mulla Park had its last upgrade more than 20 years ago and the Woolloomooloo Improvement Plan called for its renovation.

The space has been opened up to make it more accessible and safer.

Additions include green walls and a green roof for plants to grow on; an upgraded toilet block with larger cubicles and lowering retaining walls to improve visibility and access for emergency vehicles.

We've installed new lights to make the park safer, and thinned vegetation to increase visibility. Paving has been recycled and there is new furniture and less clutter.

These two parks provide much-improved spaces for Woolloomooloo, and while there are and have been a large number of rough sleepers in the area, I very much welcome the support the State/Federal Government's recent initiative to provide 70 rough sleepers here with the chance to move into homes of their own with support.

Meanwhile our own Mike Fish, the City's Public Space Liaison Officer, continues his great work with the community and the homeless in Woolloomooloo.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in these two projects including our project manager, Russell Kosko and Landscape Architect Mark Brandon; our Design Manager Narelle Naumcevski and our Community Garden Co-ordinator, Russ Grayson.

I also thank our contractors Terragram and Hansen Yuncken.

I hope you'll enjoy both these new parks and stay today for the plant-give aways and the musical entertainment from Sousaphonic. There are more details of the work on the project information panels.

(Lord Mayor unveils Bourke Street Plaque)

Now, I think Sousaphonic are going to play us up to Walla Mulla Park so I hope you'll come along with us now as we unveil the plaque there.