New Master Plan for Centennial Park

The Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust has announced a proposed strategic master plan that would introduce big changes to parklands at Centennial Park and Moore Park.

This is public land and the community again needs to work to ensure areas are not commercialised and alienated.

A ten minute video on the Centennial Parklands website shows more commercialisation of the parklands. It proposes an underground car park for 2000 cars under Moore Park, an adventure and sporting centre, expanded development at Fox Studios and "substantial redevelopment" of ES Marks Fields for a sports centre with spectator stands and possible campus style accommodation.

A parking station under west Moore Park, adjacent to Surry Hills, would have major impacts on the parklands - loss of majestic Fig trees and the parkland carved up for access road, portals and ventilation stacks.

This is a crazy proposal when light rail will provide public transport, especially for major events. Parking would only attract more people to drive and draw more vehicles to the area by functioning as a commuter car park on weekdays, with a short trip to the CBD provided by light rail.

The parklands are a regional and national icon. We need to protect what is left of Lachlan Macquarie's 1811 Sydney Common bequest. In 1810, Macquarie could envisage a big future for the convict settlement, and he planned accordingly. By 1811, he had set aside 405 hectares (1000 acres) as the Sydney Common, for the use and benefit of all people now and in the future.

The parklands are listed on the Register of the National Estate and they receive more than 11 million visits from all over Sydney each year. We need to ensure the 25-year masterplan maintains public use of the parklands and protects the environment as stated in the legislation.

Over the years, NSW Governments have incrementally eroded these precious parklands.

My final question in Parliament last year asked the Environment Minister to commit to long-term recurrent funding for Centennial Park and Moore Park. In 2010, the Labor Government's attempt to hand over east Moore Park to the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust was foiled by a strong community campaign which the City supported.

In 2006, both major political parties supported the sportsgrounds request for commercial and residential development on parkland. Offices have been built and new rugby league headquarters.

2.2 hectares were carved off Moore Park for the Eastern Distributor and the Government committed to the permanent removal of car parking in west Moore Park. The Carr Government leased the former showgrounds site to Fox Studios who then on-sold the lease for commercial and entertainment uses.

I encourage you to watch the video and contact the Trust with your views. It has always been the local community who have rallied to protect Macquarie's bequest.

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