On 28 September 2016, Ian Reynolds, the Administrator of the new Central Coast Council, abandoned plans to reclassify our parks under the now infamous “Land Sale Strategy” of the former Gosford City Council.
In July this year, the Central Coast Council advised that the decision by the former Gosford City Council to reclassify Wamberal Memorial Hall as operational land was found to be unlawful.
This means the both the Wamberal Memorial Hall and the beautiful Benjamin Parker Reserve, with its stunning views of Terrigal Lagoon and the Skillion will remain as community assets for everyone to enjoy.
This fantastic outcome is the result of 55 weeks of hard work by local residents and the wider Central Coast community.
To the people of Wamberal who put so much effort in to saving the Wamberal Memorial Hall and Benjamin Parker Reserve like Christine and Richard, Denise and Laurie, PK and Tania, David and Janine, John and Anna, Josephine and Paul, Adam and Felicity and Gaynor and Graham, Amanda and Jan and the hundreds of others who wrote untold amounts of letters and emails, signed petitions, made signs, delivered flyers and engaged with us and shared our website and Facebook posts. Thank you everyone.
We were one of eight community groups to join forces to save our parks and there are some who deserve special mention.
Sue Chidgey, who wanted to see her grandchildren enjoy the East Gosford Reserve, rallied eight community groups and thousands of residents to call, lobby, and write thousands of Facebook posts and emails encouraging the Council to save our parks.
Jane Smith from the Community Environment Network, Jane worked tirelessly to organise and rally people to save our parks.
Kevin Armstrong, whose knowledge of Council matters is only matched by his dedication to make the Central Coast a better place to live.
Vicki Scott and Hillary Morris who raised the alarm in September 2015 about Councils plan to sell our parks.
Adam Crouch MP, who advised on preparing petitions and the many grants funding opportunities available from the NSW Government.
Ian Reynolds, Rod Noble and Brian Glendenning from the Central Coast Council, whose dedication, leaderships and judgement have done so much to build trust in our public service. The proposed ‘Adopt-a-park’ scheme is just one example of new thinking and innovation in the new Central Coast Council.
Please send a short email of thanks to Ian Reynolds and say you are keen to join the ‘Adopt a Park’ initiative.
Also, get some of your children to paint or draw a picture or send a card of thanks to Ian Reynolds.
A celebration picnic is being planned with details to come.
Signs are changing
The signs are going to change for Save our parks to Saved our parks.
3 September 2015
The proposed sale of Benjamin Parker Reserve and 23 other community parks was listed on page 103 of the Council agenda four days before the council meeting.
8 September 2015
Councillors Bocking and Doyle of the former Gosford Council move to reclassify 24 parcels of public land from “community” to “operational”. The classification of public land affects how that land is to be managed and whether Council can sell that land. Benjamin Parker Reserve in Dover Road Wamberal was included in the motion.
10 September 2015
First media release from Jane Smith of the Community Environment Network.
10 November 2015
Councillors Bowles and Doyle of the former Gosford City Council moved to consider selling a further 14 parcels of land that includes the land on which the Wamberal Memorial Hall sits.
19 January 2016
Large public meeting at Gosford garners substantial community support.
9 February 2016
Despite one of the largest protests ever seen at Gosford Council, all but two Councillors vote to continue with the sale of Benjamin Parker Reserve and other parks.
10 February 2016
Mayor defends decision to sell parks claiming it costs between $10,000 and $18,000 per year to mow and maintain a park.
18 February 2016
Campaign to save the historic Wamberal Memorial Hall begins after Gosford Council advise community members that it is going to be sold no matter what.
29 February 2016
The NSW Government declares that Gosford City Council was unfit for the future.
9 March 2106
Council appoint independent consultant with verbal terms of reference.
23 April 2016
A new series focusing on service men and women with strong connections to Wamberal begins with the story of a truly remarkable local: Lieutenant Colonel James George Tedder, public servant, singer and musician, farmer and citizen soldier who served in three wars and helped build the Wamberal Memorial Hall.
25 April 2016
Around three thousand people attend Memorial Services at Terrigal and the spectacular poppies on the Skillion draw enormous attention across the nation and the world. One of the best views is from Benjamin Parker Reserve.
1 May 2016
Online poll launched for the Wamberal Memorial Hall.
12 May 2016
Gosford Council finally releases its”Land Sale Strategy”after eight months of constant requests, including freedom of information applications.
This supposedly seminal planning document that was years in planning, comprised just nine sentences, not nine pages, just nine sentences (232 words)!
18 May 2016
Gosford City Council sacked by the NSW Government. Ian Reynolds appointed as administrator.
28 May 2016
The second in our series profiling ANZACS associated with Wamberal and the Memorial Hall focuses on Private Bert Bean – son, worker and “dear young friend”– killed at Bullecourt on Wednesday 11 April 1917. He is listed on the Honour Roll of the Wamberal Memorial Hall.
2 July 2016
Almost 2,500 people sign petitions to save the Wamberal Memorial Hall petition and the Benjamin Parker Reserve on election day.
5 July 2016
The Central Coast Express Advocate published a two page spread on the Wamberal Memorial Hall.
6 July 2016
Public meetings at Erina turns into a farce. Many people from Wamberal speak passionately about saving Benjamin Parker Reserve and the Wamberal Memorial Hall.
Council could not provide clear answers or information about the process and the lack of consistency frustrated the audiences at both meetings.
11 July 2016
Community submissions workshop to help draft submissions to save Benjamin Parker Reserve and our other playgrounds and parks on the Central Coast.
13 July 2016
Central Coast Council advised that the decision by the former Gosford City Council to change the classification of the Wamberal Memorial Hall from “community” to “operational land” was unlawful.
17 July 2016
Leaked Council report recommends that children could play on the narrow strip of land between Lakeview Road and Terrigal Lagoon; next to a sewer pump station, open stormwater drains and a busy road on flood prone land.
20 July 2016
Residents submit hundreds of submissions calling for the sale of parks to not proceed. Wamberal Community Group lodges submission to council arguing that Council’s claim that the addition of 84 hectares of remote and inaccessible bushland, which would even challenge Bear Grylls to access, is not a suitable replacement for a neighbourhood or village playground suitable for very young children to play in.
21 July 2016
More positive press coverage in the Central Coast Community News.
10 August 2016
The Administrator, Ian Reynolds put a Question on Notice to the CEO, Rob Noble for an urgent report on the progress of the Land Sale Strategy.
13 August 2016
The saving of Wamberal Memorial Hall is the lead article in the Central Coast Community News.
28 September 2016
After a 12-months battle to save 25 parks and reserves in the former Gosford Council area, Central Coast Council Administrator, Ian Reynolds abandoned a controversial plan to sell off public playgrounds, parks and reserves.
The administrators statement on 28 September
Ian Reynolds said:
“After weighing it all up in the context of the merged Council, I believe Council can find more efficiencies and savings in our now consolidated budget without the need to sell community land as a strategy,” Mr Reynolds said.
“This will be welcome news to the many residents who approached me directly with concerns about the potential loss of open space in their neighbourhood and the hundreds who put in submissions.
“There is genuine benefit for Council to listen to the community. They know about their own neighbourhoods and what is needed to help sustain communities and enhance quality of life.
“I see merit in looking at a potential ‘Adopt-a-park’ scheme and I have asked the CEO to provide me with a report to outline how such a scheme could work.”
Mr Reynolds said the council had listened to the community and acted.
“Council will take no further action to reclassify the land,” he said.
He asked chief executive officer Rob Noble to prepare a report on a new program called “adopt-a-park”.