Rozelle Parklands saga continues: New masterplan underway
By LAUREN FROST
A new Rozelle Parklands Masterplan is finally on its way following accusations that the former Coalition state government wanted to offload a half-finished park, thanks to a successful motion passed at an Inner West Council meeting earlier this week.
On Tuesday night, Inner West Council moved a motion declaring the council’s willingness to work with the state government on the project, provided the masterplan includes “detailed community engagement and cost planning” to ensure the needs of the community are adequately met.
Rozelle Parklands have had a long and contentious history. The park is intended to be a balm for the disruptive impact of the WestConnex motorway.
At the council meeting on Tuesday, several council members were quick to point out the flippancy of the former state government, who fell through on their promises.
Deputy Mayor Philippa Scott said at the meeting, “despite flashy announcements, there is clearly no existing masterplan and no plan to make sure that the community is delivered with the parkland that they so badly deserve.”
In addition to empty promises, the former Government’s plan for Rozelle envisioned a field above a power cable that would cost $57 million to relocate to ensure the safe installation of the field.
Moreover, the local community has faced a myriad of disruptions due to the construction of the controversial WestConnext tunnel.
Westconnex has come under fire in recent years for creating a path of environmental destructio across the city’s inner west. The major infrastructure project has wrought havoc on precious ecosystem including the green and golden bell frog at Kogarah golf club and mature-age heritage trees in Sydney Park. Wendy Bacon’s investigations have revealed that Transport for NSW failed to inform Inner West Council last year about public safety concerns over contaminated land in St Peters – land that is part of a Westconnex interchange.
Minister for Roads John Grahams said, “the Inner West, and specifically the Rozelle community, has accepted much more than its fair share of disruption.”
“The former government promised their reward would be a new parkland that met the wishes of the community,” he continued.
However, it seems that the former Government handed over an ill-conceived masterplan that did not include several essential amenities.
Greens Councillor Kobi Shetty acknowledged that “the relationship between council and the former state government was not always collegiate.”
“I recognise that any moves to work together to deliever this parkland to an excellent standard could only be positive for the community,” she continued in the council meeting.
The agreement between Council and the NSW Government also hinges on the notion that the state government will front the costs of the masterplan.
The future of the parklands
The motion included several key considerations for the masterplan including, adequate parking facilities with accessible parking, 4 multi-purpose courts, an all-weather sporting surface, inclusive and accessible toilets, and female-friendly changerooms and amenities with kiosks and storage. All of which the former State Government failed to deliver on, despite earlier promises.
Additionally, the Council requested that the masterplan include safe and accessible connections to Easton Park, consideration of active transport routes in the area, and replacement trees following the loss of canopy due to Westconnex.
“Rozelle Parklands is a difficult site and last-minute changes will be a challenge given the construction is already well underway,” Clr Shetty told City Hub.
“I’m glad to see council are working more collaboratively with the new government, and I welcome any additional steps taken to consult with the community and deliver the best possible parklands for us all to enjoy.”
“We need to ensure this process doesn’t create any unnecessary delays,” she continued.
“We are all looking forward to the opening of these long-awaited parklands after many years of disruption to our community.”
The Parklands are set to open up later this year alongside the WestConnex Interchange. The forthcoming masterplan will identify further improvements needed for the site.