$16m for greening of Sydney’s Crown lands

Local councils in greater Sydney are getting a hand turning crown land into green public spaces under a $16 million state government program.

The Greater Sydney Crown Land Open Space Activation Program will be provided from the government’s COVID-19 stimulus fund for upgrades to Crown land and Community facilities, planning and public spaces minister Rob Stokes announced this week.

Projects include a $2 million upgrade and construction of a viewing platform at the Hungry Point walking track and $1.5 million to restore a historic railway tunnel at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains.

“It makes good sense that by improving Crown land and public infrastructure we can make better use of the assets we already have to create more open space for the community to enjoy.

“These projects will also support local jobs and economies with work for tradespeople and materials suppliers.”

Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said funding for the tunnel meant it would be reborn as a recreational trail in collaboration with Blue Mountains City Council.

The historic tunnel at Glenbrook
(image via office of Stuart Ayres)

“Opening the tunnel would provide a missing link connecting Glenbrook and Lapstone villages with Leonay and Emu Plains and Penrith’s Great River Walk, and contribute to an extensive network of tracks and trails in the area that will add to the region’s tourism appeal,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said $1.5 million provided to fund the former Police Cottage in Emu Plains would help Penrith City Council reimagine the dilapidated building as a café and restaurant.

Penrith City Council has lodged a conservation management plan and a development application to restore the heritage-listed cottage as part of broader plans to activate the riverfront and Regatta Park Precincts.

Local councils will be invited to participate in partnership opportunities for ongoing management of sites that are shortlisted for activation, including public parkland reserves, foreshore precincts and civic spaces such as town squares, the minister said.

Artist’s impression of the restored Police Cottage (image via Penrith City Council)

An additional $500,000 will also be provided over the next two years to help councils install fencing, bollards, gates and signs on reserves that are being damaged by unauthorised activity including four-wheel driving, dirt bike riding and rubbish dumping.

“This funding will help local councils trying to manage hotspots where these inappropriate activities occur. Fencing and gates will also help manage bushfire risk by keeping reserves free of accumulated rubbish,” Mr Stokes said.

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