One of the best examples of Local Community Action was in relation to the proposed sale of local parks.
After initially failing to convince councillors that selling local parks would not please residents, they decided to proceed.
Fortunately, I was able to insist on taking the proposal to community consultation during City Plan 2015, which resulted in their proposal being overturned… for now.
(For More information, read on…)
During the past 4 years of council, a lot has happened.
One consideration was a proposed sale of RCC’s land holdings, including local parks.
While I am not allowed to share all these details, due to ongoing issues of confidentiality, know that I argued strongly against the proposed sell offs in Division 10, with the exception of one small (405m2) single house lot in Ferry Road, Thorneside.
I did not support the rezoning of 53 Fisher Road, Thorneside or 49-57 Quarry Road, Birkdale, however the majority rules.
(This was generally the same majority of councillors who promised to cap rates & remove tip fees at the 2012 RCC election).
53 Fisher Rd is an important 3.5 acre block with environmentally significant land in a koala corridor area, next to a 6 acre property that a local resident has designated for environmental land use only. He has even rescinded his development rights for this purpose.
49-57 Quarry Rd is listed as a 6 acre ‘community park’ in RCC’s Open Space Strategy, although has never really been open for general community purposes. It has existed as an unofficial Northern Depot for RCC storage and use since the original Quarry was dug out to construct local roads and then filled in by RCC works over many years. The property also hosts hundreds of koala trees and is an important habitat reserve for local flora, fauna and many local adjoining residents, who love the area.
Despite my suggestions, the land was proposed for rezoning and then subsequent development or sale as part of CityPlan.
I insisted that the sites be taken out for community consultation before this happened and the result was an overwhelming signal to councillors that community were not happy with the proposal.
We had several meetings in local parks, individuals commenced local letter-box drops and information sessions, as well as new Facebook Groups for each site, and local residents were actively engaged in preparing ‘Properly Made Submissions’.
One person presented a petition with over 1000 signatures and was responsible for encouraging hundreds of people to make submissions.
The result was an overwhelming signal of common-sense refusal to let these parks go out of community ownership, and the decision was made not to proceed with the sale of local lands.
However, the CEO and others have suggested that the next council will not be fettered by previous council decisions. So, be aware, this issue has not necessarily gone away forever.
Please remain engaged in the process of local community action by being engaged with your neighbours as we consider the future of the places in which we live.
(Incidentally, I filmed this video about RCC Officers conducting 'controlled burns on the Quarry Road site in 2015)
Here is a link to the Fisher Road Facebook Group I created: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1648486585421260/
Here is a link to the Quarry Road Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021458941208503/