Return Howley Park to the people

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Howley Park (East) is a small headland park on the southern side of the Parramatta River located less than 1 km west of the Gladesville Bridge  It is reserved for public recreation but the eastern side has been largely taken over by the adjoining Gladesville Bridge Marina for its back-of-house operations.

The NSW Government (Crown lands) has granted operator of the Marina, Enares Pty Ltd, a licence over this part of the park for access, parking and waste management. This amounts to commercialisation of a foreshore public park but worse, the development and activities of the marina in the park prevent the public from using this area and accessing an attractive and rare sandy beach on our magnificent Parramatta River.

This alienation of parkland is a scandal. This foreshore park should be restored and dedicated to the people.

Under the Crowns Land Act, the park is reserved for Public Recreation and under the Canada Bay local plan it is zoned RE1 – Public Recreation

The objectives of the zone are to:
• enable land to be used for public open space or recreational purposes.
• provide a range of recreational settings and activities and compatible land uses.
• protect and enhance the natural environment for recreational purposes.
• facilitate public access to and along the foreshore.
• conserve public open space that enhances the scenic and environmental quality of Canada Bay.

The mammoth concrete driveway built by the marina across the Park is the only means for people on foot to get to the public beach. It's too steep for the elderly or visitors with a disability to use and other people feel it is unsafe because of illegally parked cars and marina traffic. The marina activities act as a disincentive for people to use the park and beach.

Green space is a precious public commodity which is so important in urban areas, contributing to people's health and wellbeing. Reclaiming the park is not just about restoring access to the beach but thinking about how we could better use this area for all people. Public recreation improvement ideas include a community garden, fishing platform, kayak storage and picnic area.

I support the return and restoration of Howley Park East for 'public recreation' for all people.