Published February 23, 2016 - Deborah Fitzgerald
"Sporting associations throughout the inner west struggle to find enough grounds to meet the growing need of young people in our community. Sports are restricting registrations and in many cases turning away participants of all ages.” Jamie Parker, MP
THE State Government has agreed to undertake a sport and recreational needs analysis for the Bays Precinct ahead of plans that will see the area redeveloped into a residential and technology hub.
The move has been applauded by sports clubs who have been feeling the squeeze across the inner west as memberships soar but sporting fields are scarce.
It follows pressure for extra green space in the precinct after heat mapping conducted by Leichhardt Council and University of Technology Sydney found the precinct was up to 15 per cent hotter than neighbouring suburbs.
At a meeting at parliament last week the chief executive of Urban Growth NSW, David Pitchford, agreed to undertake the study conjointly with Leichhardt Council and the City of Sydney.
UrbanGrowth also agreed to establish a formal process for consulting with sporting associations.
Balmain state Greens MP Jamie Parker said the electorates of Sydney and Balmain, in which the 95ha Bays Precinct urban renewal project sits, are two of the smallest and most densely populated in the State.
“There is concern that the focus of Bays Precinct has been on large-scale, headline-grabbing development without first committing to integrated community facilities,” Mr Parker said.
“Sporting associations throughout the inner west struggle to find enough grounds to meet the growing need of young people in our community. Sports are restricting registrations and in many cases turning away participants of all ages.”
Leichardt mayor Darcy Byrne said that the decision to conduct the recreation analysis was a win for sport in the inner west.
“Council has brought together a coalition of local sports clubs and statewide sporting bodies to demand that there be sporting fields, not just sky scrapers, in the Bays Precinct,” Cr Byrne said.
“The government’s commitment to work with council on developing a worldclass plan for sporting facilities is an important step forward.
“Our intention is to make this a blueprint for addressing the recreational needs of local families, so that in the future no local child misses out on the health and social benefits of junior sport.”