Media Release Restore Balmain heritage: hundreds petition Leichhardt Council
After years of community campaigning, Telstra has finally agreed to the demolition of the front portion of the ugly Telephone Exchange building on Darling Street in Balmain, provided Leichhardt Council pays for the work.
This will become a public park and will also reveal the heritage façade of the historic Balmain Post Office.
Hundreds of residents have signed a petition supporting the campaign and many today joined Greens MP Jamie Parker and Leichhardt Councillor Craig Channells to encourage the Council to act.
Greens MP Jamie Parker said:
“The former Greens-led Council allocated $320,000 to implement this plan however the current Labor/Liberal Council has slashed the budget and made the project impossible.
“This is a fantastic community building initiative which will improve our streetscape and provide much-needed public space for community members to meet and socialise.
“I’m calling on the Leichhardt Mayor and Council to reinstate the funding that was already allocated to this project under the former Greens-led Council,” Mr Parker said.
Local resident and member of the Balmain Association Fergus Fricke said:
“There is no reason why the unused front of the exchange should not be demolished - Leichhardt Council need only pay for the demolition and to purchase the land.
“This project would uncover the beautiful profile of the Victorian post office, which has been hidden for 56 years.
“Next year is the centenary of the state’s first three automatic telephone exchanges in Balmain, Glebe and Newtown and this project provides the ideal opportunity to celebrate it,” Mr Fricke said.
The project is supported by the Balmain Association, the Balmain Residents Precinct Committee, Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee, the Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce and the Greens.
Mr Parker is encouraging residents to sign the online petition: www.jamieparker.org.au/heritage-heart
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