The City of Sydney has announced a $400 million plan for open space and new recreation and sporting facilities over the next 15 years that Lord Mayor Clover Moore says will form the “backyard” for the central council’s rapidly growing population of apartment dwellers.
The big ticket, long term vision promises to open an extra 36 hectares of open space up for recreation across the local area by 2030 as developers pile onto new public transport hubs that the state government opened up under its ‘value capture’ co-funding regime.
“Three quarters of our residents live in apartments,” the Lord Mayor said. “Since 2004, we’ve spent more than $270 million on more than 50 new or upgraded sporting facilities, parks and playgrounds.
The City of Sydney says it already owns or manages around 189 hectares or public open space. If open space managed by other agencies is included, it reckons the total space reaches 386 hectares, around 14.8 per cent of the local government area.
The CBD council’s spending on public recreation facilities, strongly assisted by commercial rates that other councils can only dream of, has become the envy of neighbours now in the process of being forcibly amalgamated.
Despite a years-long campaign by political opponents to try and oust the popular Lord Mayor dubbed ‘Get Clover’, a confluence of population pressure fuelled by big new apartment builds and major public transport reforms, held back for a decade, has maintained Ms moore’s high public support levels as neighbouring councils are extinguished and merged.
In a crucial boundary re-setting manoeuvre, the Baird Government opted to avoid any increase to the City of Sydney’s boundaries in favour of lumping together more culturally disparate councils to avoid the creation of a central Sydney mega-council it would find difficult to contain.
Despite agreement over light rail renewal, the City of Sydney has proved an unwieldy opponent of many NSW State Government roads projects, choosing to prioritise pedestrians, active transport and public transit over vehicles.
More specifically the new City of Sydney $400 million plan and study recommends:
- Increasing the number of parks, sports and recreation areas across the city with over $400 million allocated across the next 10 years;
- Upgrading Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Observatory Hill Park;
- Providing five new sports fields, including Gunyama Park, Green Square, Perry Park and Alexandria;
- Building recreation spaces at Garraway Park, Green Square, McPherson Park, Ashmore Estate, Harold Park and Forest Lodge;
- Developing partnerships with schools and other agencies to increase access to sports fields; and
- Increasing skate facilities at Federal Park, Sydney Park and Green Square.
The study is open for feedback at: www.sydneyyoursay.com.au
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