PARK SALE SLAMMED
Revealed: Former councillor says money beats social good
A FORMER Penrith Greens councillor has criticised a pilot program to sell “surplus” recreation land in Erskine Park for development.
Michelle Tormey has described the move by Penrith Council as a triumph of money over social and environmental concerns.
She was the only councillor to argue against the motion at the council’s September 5 meeting, bemoaning the loss of public space.
Nine parks in Erskine Park are being considered for full or potential sale. Under the model, sale proceeds could fund park improvements.
PENRITH Council’s move to sell “surplus” council land for development in an Erskine Park pilot project has been slammed as a triumph of money over social and environmental concerns.
Former Greens councillor Michelle Tormey said she was concerned the move could make Penrith look too much like jam-packed inner Sydney.
“The money trumped other considerations,” said Ms Tormey, who was the lone dissenting vote against the move in council before losing her seat at the local government elections.
“I believed it would result in a loss of public space.
“We are a growth area and we are becoming ever more urbanised.
“You can see how little green space there is in Sydney’s inner city.”
Penrith Council has voted to reclassify and rezone some land in Erskine Park from public recreation to low-density residential.
It has allocated $2.65 million to advance an open space masterplan identify- ing “potentially surplus” open space land which could be considered for sale to fund park improvements.
This model would be rolled out to other suburbs in coming years, its end-ofterm report said.
Dilga, Spoonbill and Regulus reserves have been identified for potential sale.
Phoenix, Pacific, Chameleon, Spica, Capella and Sennar Rd reserves have been identified for possible partial sale.
The masterplan was amended to retain Warbler and Aquarius reserves following community feedback showing 53 per cent of residents in favour and 47 per cent against.
Ms Tormey said she understood the council’s efforts to raise money to prove it was “fit for the future” and avoid amalgamation.
But she said the surplus land issue should be about more than money.
“Just because there’s not a playground on a piece of council land doesn’t mean it’s not useful, or won’t be in the future,” she said.
you can see how little green space there is in sydney’s inner city. We should not be risking that Michelle Tormey
Netballers at Chameleon Reserve, Erskine Park, in 2014 and (below) the park is well used through its netball courts, toilets and carpark.