No say given in parks’ re­zon­ing: com­mu­nity

Res­i­dents and shop­keep­ers an­gry with move to al­low de­vel­op­ment

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jil­lian Mc­Kee and Marissa Ge­or­gopou­los

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

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