Still refusing to consult the public. What is the Labor-Liberal alliance afraid of?

The Labor-Liberal bloc on Leichhardt Council are still refusing to consult the public about adding a huge multi-purpose sports field to the Callan Park Master Plan.

At the October meeting Labor and most Liberal Councillors voted to ask the Minister for Planning to alter the Callan Park Master Plan to allow this huge field - dubbed the Veterans field - on the Callan Park foreshore. It would mean wall-to-wall sporting fields along the foreshore at the expense of passive and informal recreation spaces. The Master Plan already provides for three ovals [or six playing fields] on this heritage site.

On Tuesday night these same Councillors defied an angry gallery and voted down a move by Councillors Craig Channells and Michele McKenzie to rescind their earlier decision and put the proposal out for public consultation.

“The Friends of Callan Park will accept the results of that public consultation,” said the Friends’ president Hall Greenland.

“The Master Plan was the result of the most extensive public consultation. Any changes should only be the result of similar consultation. Council’s own Code of Community Engagement requires asking for public input before deciding on major planning matters.

“In addition Callan Park is the most precious public asset in the municipality and for that reason alone the public needs to be consulted about any changes. Besides, Callan Park was saved from developers by a public campaign, so people have earned the right to decide what happens to this site.

“The only reason the Mayor could advance for bypassing the public is that he was sure a majority supported the Veterans Field proposal. This kind of mind-reading went out with straw hats. If he’s so sure of public opinion why not test it?

“I’m sure the community believes the Bays Precinct - the vacant Glebe Island and the old Rozelle rail yards - is the best place for additional sporting fields - not the Callan Park foreshore.”

The Friends are now pressing for an appointment with the Minister for Planning, Mr Brad Hazzard, who is currently considering adopting the Callan Park Master Plan. He has already received a report on the plan from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and is awaiting the result of investigations by the Department of Planning.

The Friends will be holding a Master Plan information session for residents - followed by a picnic - on Sunday, 2nd December at 4pm, at the end of Wharf Road in Callan Park.

More information: Craig Channels 0412 107 259

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