We are 6-7 month away from the Council making a decision on the future of the Western portion on McConnell Reserve. This will be the 4th time this proposal has been brought to Council. As far as locals and the community at large are concerned, is it a case of deja vu or worse still groundhog day!!
What new evidence will come to light via Council’s “ rigorous and comprehensive review”. To date we have not seen any framework for this review which will take into account not just the local activation of the eastern portion but the potential integration of the western portion, taking into account the Marino Coastal Ward’ s needs and future demands in this growth area. All this will feed into a report which will be made for the new elected Council to review in February 2023.
All of the previous evidence and argument are still valid. Extract from the February 2022 submission follows:
The council is well aware we continue to advocate and campaign for the retention and integration of both sides of McConnell Reserve as a unique, level accessible public open space. This approach and recognition of its intrinsic value is based on
- An overall lack of accessible and useable level open space in Marino
- Recognition of the potential for McConnell to be a destination reserve
- Its potential contribution to the future open space/green space requirements brought on by the increased residential density in Marino facilitated by Council’s planned application for a Planning Code Amendment.
- The impacts of the new Seacliff Park development ( 600 homes) and pressures on existing open space requirements, notwithstanding the need for that development to provide its own minimum open space. That will not meet the current shortfall and as we know there are no boundaries to the community accessing open space in other parts of the suburb if it has specific qualities e.g. McConnell.
The options provided as part of the Feb 2022 motion were reviewed by the Association and the Friends of McConnell. Based on the review we maintained and will maintain a consistent position:
Option 1 – Sell off the western part – vehemently opposed to this option ( all reasons referenced in the attachments to Council’s report future of McConnell Reserve )
Option 2 – Retain the western part -Wholehearted support this option ( all reasons referenced in the attachments to Council’s report and above). We would add that opportunity exists to seek support from State and Federal Governments to support the integration and enhancement of McConnell for the wider community, given its potential and its capacity to support mental wellbeing, environmental education, passive and active activities.
Option 3 – Defer the decision whilst a longer evaluation is conducted – Whilst option 2 was always our preferred outcome we did support Option 3 on the basis that:
- No evaluation criteria have been made available to the community.
- The original motion from Jan 2021 stated :
“Retains the western portion of McConnell Avenue Reserve whilst undertaking a revised evaluation of the facilities and upgrades at the reserve as a whole, commencing in the months following the completion of the budgeted upgrade works on the eastern portion of the reserve, which are scheduled to be completed before Christmas 2021.”