No say given in parks’ rezoning: community
Residents and shopkeepers angry with move to allow development
A PLAN to reclassify public land at Kokoda and Lang Park in St Marys has been approved by Penrith Council.
The move will allow the development of further retail and commercial space in the area and decrease the amount of green space available.
Outraged residents spoke out about the decision at Monday night’s council meeting and argued that community consultation was not carried out properly.
St Marys business owner Alex Karavas said the community’s opinions had been ignored.
“From my knowledge no major stakeholders have been consulted, I know for a fact St Marys Town Centre received no correspondence,” he said.
Mr Karavas said the community did not have the opportunity to air their grievances. “It seems the community’s opinions have been dismissed.”
Phillip Martin, who has lived in St Marys for 60 years, said the area would lose much of its open space.
“When considered against open space within town centre it is a 36 per cent loss of open space,” he said.
“If Lang Park is developed, the residents instead of having views of a tree-filled park will have view of retail shopping centre.”
Councillor Jackie Greenow agreed the community was not given a fair consultation.
“The trust in the community in St Marys isn’t strong in council,” she said.
“When they had the first come and have a look, they did it on a Thursday night, a lot of the shopkeepers couldn’t be there.
“That caused a lot of people problems of not being able to come, not being able to find out what was happening and not being able to be listened to.”
The councillors voted in favour of the reclassification by a margin of 8-4.
Cr Greg Davies said: “I’ve got to stress that we need to take St Marys forward. We need to do this reclassification. It has to happen.”
Dean Aitcheson,Ai 6, of St Marys, enjoys the play equipment in Kokoda Park yesterday and (inset) a Penrith Council map of the areas to be reclassified. Picture: Matt Sullivan