Wamberal Memorial Hall

Wamberal Memorial Hall saved

In a stunning turn of events, the general counsel at the new Central Coast Council has found that the previous Gosford Council had no power to change Wamberal Memorial Hall from “community land” (which cannot be sold) to “operational land” (which can be sold.)

In 1994, in a simply staggering decision, Gosford Council resolved that the Wamberal Memorial, park and playground should be classified as “operational land.” That decision was simply wrong.

“Operational land” is for Council depots, sewerage plants and the like.

Just why Gosford Council resolved that the Wamberal Memorial Hall, park and playground more closely resembled a works depot or sewage plant than it did a community facility will forever remain a mystery.

So for the time being, Wamberal Memorial Hall has been saved from immediate demolition thanks to the hard work of the general counsel of the new Central Coast Council.

See the article about the petition to save the hall in the Central Coast Express Advocate

But there is a catch: under the arcane rules that councils operate under, a council can change any “community land” into “operational land” by holding a “public hearing” under one piece of legislation and “community consultation” under a different piece of legislation!

And in 2015, in another staggering decision, the previous Gosford Council resolved to do just that: to sell our precious community parks, playgrounds and reserves based on unsupported statements that are simply wrong.

Simply wrong – time and again

Council claimed there was an excess of playgrounds when in fact we have a massive shortage of playgrounds. To simply match Wagga Council, we would need an extra 180 playgrounds in the Gosford Council area alone. And population growth will increase the demand for parks and playgrounds. Council’s claim is simply wrong.

…even Bear Grylls couldn’t access it so how can a child be expected to play there?

Council claimed they added over 50 hectares of land in the past three years, but this additional land is such incredibly dense bushland that even Bear Grylls would find it a challenge to access! No child could ever get to this land let lone play there. So Council is all spin when it equates high value neighbourhood parks designed for children to dense bushland. Council’s claim is simply wrong.

Council claimed each park costs between $12,000 and $18,000 per year to mow and maintain even though many are maintained free by community members. Now lets take Benjamin Parker Reserve for example. It takes two staff about two hours to maintain with one on a ride on mower and the other trimming the edges. Now we can safely assume Councils outdoor staff are not highly paid, but lets be generous and pay them $50 per hour. That equates to $200 per mow which means Council is claiming they mow Benjamin Parker Reserve between 60 and 90 times per year! We can even be supremely generous and pay the staff $100 per hour and even then they would be mowing it between 30 and 45 times per year! Council’s claim that these parks are too expensive to maintain is simply wrong.

So, on Thursday night we are at the Wamberal Surf Club to help people prepare their submissions showing how Gosford Councils resolution to sell Benjamin Parker Reserve and many other parks, playgrounds and reserves across the Central Coast is simply wrong.

Hope to see your there.

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