Petition Closed

Preserve Our Natural Green Space and "Backyard" on Penshurst Park

This petition had 192 supporters


UPDATE 13-03-2018:
We reached 193 petition signatures - an  excellent effort ! 
Although DA2017/0354 was approved despite our protests, we were successful in persuading the Sydney South Planning Panel to at least add conditions to their decision, so the community will benefit from more equitable and greener space around the development, eg. more trees.  See our last Update post on 14-03-2018. The petition signatures helped to add weight to our argument., and contributed to this success.

This petition has now closed, but you can read the history of the fight for Penshurst Park and the results below in the Information and Updates below.

For future updates, please also visit;
Penshurst Park Development Plan - Community Notice Board https://penshurstpark.wordpress

Penshurst Park Development Plan Discussions
https://www.facebook.com/groups/637707403052289/

______________________________________________________________

ORIGINAL INFORMATION AS AT 12-03-2018:
We need as many petition signatures as possible to present at the Sydney South Planning Panel (SSPP) meeting when it decides on the fate of Penshurst Park. The meeting date has been set for Tuesday 13th March at 2pm at the Hurstville Civic Centre (Georges River Council Chambers, cnr McMahon and Dora St Hurstville).

So time is rapidly running out to get all the signatures we need to convince the SSPP that our community wants Penshurst Park to remain naturally green, and that we want to keep as much recreational and play space available as possible for local residents and visitors to the park.

DA2017/0354 represents the final Stages 2 & 3 of the Penshurst Park Development Plan “Sporting Hub” process that was initiated in 2014. Although the plan boasts the first synthetic turf field for the St.George area, which is (thought by some) to be of benefit to (the relatively small group of) soccer players in and around the region during the winter soccer season, there is opposition from other sports groups and most of the wider local community - mums, dads, children, adults and the elderly, who use the park daily, all the year round, for their play, exercise and rest. Other aspects of the plan are also of detriment to local community use of the park.

____________________________________________________________

The proposed changes in DA2017/0354 for Penshurst Park will result in;
- Resurfacing of most of the natural grass park with artificial turf (with only a small patch of natural grass remaining in one corner of the park),
- A smaller children’s playground and BBQ area (which will be closer to the road),
- Removal of the netball courts, that are currently used for free bike riding, creative play, tennis, badminton, netball, etc, etc,
- Demolition of the new canteen / toilet block (only constructed four years ago), and relocation of similar facilities to the far side of the park - reducing accessibility,
- The removal of trees and grass to enable the construction of buildings, car and bus parking on 10% of Penshurst Park and 40-50% of the Leisure Centre pool's grassed lawn and garden,
- increased and privatised usage of the public park,
- and increased car and bus traffic, and need for parking around the park, with inadequate provision for this.

You can view a 15 minute video explanation of the proposed changes to the park (that was originally uploaded to YouTube in 2017) here;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gFJfsNBMdE

More details (the original maps and documents) of the current DA can be found here;
https://daenquiry.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/masterviewui/Modules/applicationmaster/default.aspx?page=search 
(Agree to the terms, enter the Application Number: DA2017/0354 and press the magnifying glass button a little below it.)

DA2017/0354 is listed as;
"643-643A King Georges Road, PENSHURST
Stage 2 and 3 of Penshurst Park Masterplan - new playing fields, grandstand and facilities, extension to existing leisure centre"
____________________________________________________________

REASONS FOR OPPOSING the current DA2017/0354;

1. ARTIFICIAL TURF IS PROBLEMATIC
The plan to develop Penshurst Park into a “Sporting Hub” originally arose after a needs analysis determined that an all-weather field was required.  People had complained about the number of washed out games, and the poor state of the field after soccer players chopped it up by playing in wet conditions.  Indeed, currently patches of Penshurst Park are simply dirt since the end of the soccer season, and the overall surface is uneven with holes and mounds, making the current cricket games risky and frustrating.  Surely, though, if a reliable playing surface is required on Penshurst Park, artificial turf is not necessarily the answer. Many other fields are able to be kept in a playable state by careful maintenance, which would probably be less expensive in the short and long term than artificial turf.  And although artificial turf suits soccer, it does not necessarily suit cricket well.  Many cricket players we have spoken to have rejected the idea of playing on artificial turf due to the risk of injury when diving on a hard surface, no matter what recent advances in artificial turf technology have enabled.

Artificial turf can become very hot, especially in summer, requiring watering to cool it down. Cricketers in summer may find the conditions intolerable. Heat can continue to be emitted into the night. In older units such as those that line Penshurst Park, many of which do not have air-conditioning, heat stress could become an issue, especially for those who are elderly or have health issues, or do not have the monetary resources to use electricity on-goingly for cooling.


2. MORE GREEN SPACE IS NEEDED TO COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF INCREASED POPULATION & DENSITY.

The population of Hurstville, Penshurst and surrounding suburbs is rapidly expanding, with several high density apartment blocks being constructed in recent years, and more to come. The residents of medium density units that line Cambridge St, adjacent to the park, rely on Penshurst Park as their passive recreational "backyard" space, and the existing natural grass on the park is key to this. Natural green space is already scarce in Sydney and its southern suburbs.  To reduce any available space even further like this could have disastrous effects on Sydney residents' health and well-being. 

Many Sydney residents are already stressed enough by the over-development of Sydney, lack of adequate public transport, lack of employment opportunities, congested traffic, increasing expenses, etc, etc.  Now to have less open natural green space to relax and recover in, will remove one of the main means of coping with these stressors for many people. 

Children, families, elderly, less resourced people and those with health issues need access to free facilities that can enhance their health and well-being. They are often unable to spend money on gym memberships or sporting team memberships to maintain their fitness, strength and balance.  They need spaces that they can freely access to move without restriction.  Many of the residents living along Cambridge St, who regularly use the park, are of a lower income bracket.  However the reduction in recreational space in the current DA2017/0354 will reduce the opportunities for free physical activities for these disadvantaged but needful groups.

What is more, the increased use of Penshurst Park and the expanded Leisure Centre for sporting and youth activities, will only increase the stress on local residents, as a result of increased noise and traffic; increased crime, profanity, hooning and vandalism risks; less car parking availability; and less access to the park when visiting people and teams are using it.

Other parks in the Georges River Council area are often surrounded by single dwellings that have their own backyards, therefore there is less reliance on those parks for their passive recreational value by adjacent residents. To actually reduce available green space so close to the increasing high rise developments and apartments of Hurstville and Penshurst makes no sense.

At its most basic level, green space is crucial for environmental sustainability.  Oxygen is fundamental to everyone’s survival and can only be generated by plants. Destroying any green spaces indicates a lack of respect for the reliance we have on nature for our survival. Wildlife are also dependent on adequate natural spaces for feeding and protection.  Without a connected network of green spaces, many species are now becoming threatened, which again impacts on the natural balances that support human life.

The impact of the reduction of green spaces, and increases in artificial turf on residents in the Georges River area, Sydney, NSW, Australia and globally, and the consequences for health systems, could be huge and disastrous.  Georges River Council needs to be doing its bit to prevent these consequences by maintaining as much green space as possible throughout the area.


3. PENSHURST PARK IS TOO SMALL TO BE CONVERTED INTO A “SPORTING HUB”.

Although the St.George area undeniably needs upgraded sporting facilities for sports such as soccer and cricket, Penshurst Park is NOT the place to put it.  Currently Penshurst Park accommodates an adult soccer field and two smaller junior fields in winter, and a junior cricket field in summer. The proposed changes in DA2017/0354 will result in a single adult football field, and the cricket field will remain only suitable for junior teams.  Surely other much larger parks in the Georges River Council area could be given the artificial turf treatment in a larger space to address the area’s sporting needs, which would actually enable both junior and adult games to be played with ease.  Other parks include Gannons Park, Olds Park, Renown Park and Peakhurst Park.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gannons+Park/
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Olds+Park,+Penshurst/
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Renown+Ave,+Mortdale+NSW+2223,+Australia/
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Peakhurst+Park/

 
THEREFORE, WE ASK THAT YOU SIGN THE PETITION TO RETAIN NATURAL GRASS AND ADEQUATE PASSIVE RECREATIONAL FACILITIES FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS ON PENSHURST PARK.

____________________________________________________________

HISTORY OF STAGES 2 & 3 OF PENSHURST PARK PLAN, DA2017/0354

DA2017/0354 was announced by Georges River Council on 06-09-2017, and the community were invited to send submissions to the council during the official notification period which closed on Friday 29th Sept 2017. Due to the cost of building works ($17 million) the application could not be decided on by Georges River Council at an Indepenedent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) meeting (which usually assesses most smaller projects).  Instead DA2017/0354 was referred to the Sydney South Planning Panel for determination. Two GRC councillors were appointed to advise the SSPP. The council then had to compile all the community submissions and send a report to the SSPP. The report and submissions were sent to be considered by the SSPP, and an SSPP meeting date was set to enable people to have one final say before a decision is made by the SSPP.  All the people who submitted a response to DA2017/0354 during the notification period were notified of the meeting and have the opportunity to address the Panel for three minutes each. That is when we will offer the total petition signatures that we have achieved by that time.

The latest status of DA2017/0354 on the Planning Panels' Development and Planning Register, and the recently published Council Assessment Report - which recommends that the DA go ahead - can be found here; http://www.planningpanels.nsw.gov.au/DevelopmentandPlanningRegister/tabid/62/ctl/view/mid/424/JRPP_ID/3551/language/en-AU/Default.aspx

____________________________________________________________

WHAT YOU CAN DO

1. Sign our petition, or ask others to sign our petition before Monday 12th March.
We want to present as many signatures and comments as possible to the Planning Panel at the meeting.
 
We have 159 online signatures so far (as at 07-03-2018). Let’s aim for 200!

You can also download and print a petition sheet, ask people to sign it, and return it before Monday 12th March to;
k.skelsey@bigpond.com
Unit 6 / 11-13 Cambridge St, Penshurst NSW 2222

You may also like to consider promoting this petition by sponsoring it to reach more people who also value green space,
by clicking the red “Promote This Petition” button at the top right of this petition page or going to its URL;
https://www.change.org/p/preserve-our-natural-green-space-and-backyard-on-penshurst-park/sponsors/new?source_location=petitions_show_components_action_panel_wrapper


2. Be a silent observer at the meeting on Tuesday 13th March.

Come to the meeting on 13-03-2018 to show your support.  You don’t need to register to simply attend and listen to the meeting;  just turn up and be in the audience if you wish

It will give moral support to the people who have the courage to speak,
and demonstrate to the Planning Panel that lots of people want a good outcome for our park.
 

3. Register by 4pm Friday 9th March to speak at the meeting.
If you do want to speak at the meeting, please let us know too (our details are below), so we can co-ordinate together what each of our speakers will say.  Only about 5 people total will be permitted to speak, for up to 3 minutes each, so we won’t want to overlap or miss any vital points.   We are only allowed to talk about the council report which is available here.

A full outline of how you can be involved can be read here;
https://penshurstpark.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/preparation-for-the-final-public-meeting-on-13-03-2018-what-it-means-what-you-can-do/

For official information, go to the Planning Panels’ website listing for this meeting;
http://www.planningpanels.nsw.gov.au/Meetings/tabid/82/ctl/view/JRPP_ID/3551/mid/460/a/1/language/en-US/Default.aspx

For enquiries, and registration to speak:
Phone the Planning Panels Secretariat; 02 8217 2060
or Email; enquiry@planningpanels.nsw.gov.au
 
“Penshurst Park Development Plan Discussions” Facebook group’s updates about the lead-up to the meeting can be followed here;
https://m.facebook.com/groups/637707403052289
 
4. Also, even though the official submission period closed on Friday 29th Sept 2017, you are welcome to still write to Georges River Council to specify your concerns with DA2017/0354. You could reproduce your petition comment, even if it's just a simple sentence. Your comments might be forwarded to the Sydney South Planning Panel for their final decision, but there is no guarantee of this. So it would probably be better to write your comments here in our online petition, which we can carry directly to the SSPP when we are given the opportunity to speak at that meeting.

Georges River Council - comments and enquiries:
(mention DA2017/0354 to help them understand your enquiry)
Email: mail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 02 9330 6400
Mail:  PO Box 205, Hurstville NSW 1481)
( or http://www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/Council/Online-Forms/Submission-on-Development-Application )

Thanks for your help!
Cheers
Kathryn

____________________________________________________________


LATEST NEWS REGARDING THE CRICKET CENTRE (STAGE ONE, DA2016/0171):

A previous 2016 petition in opposition to a Cricket Centre on Penshurst Park (Stage 1 of the Penshurst Park Development Plan - DA2016/0171) attracted 100 responses. It introduces other considerations surrounding the development of Penshurst Park.
https://www.change.org/p/georges-river-council-keep-penshurst-park-a-freely-accessible-relaxing-natural-space-for-the-local-community

DA2016/0171 was announced on 14-07-2016 and the notification period ended on 05-08-2016. Despite community opposition the Cricket Centre was approved at an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) meeting on 27-10-2016 . The IHAP's recommendations thankfully acknowledged the importance of maintaining adequate children's playground space during the building of the Cricket Centre. At the end of 2017 the council rejected the tenders for the building of the centre, as none of the tenders met the council's criteria. The council has called for new tenders, and once a suitable tender has been approved, the Cricket Centre's construction will begin. This may possibly happen before the middle of 2018.  Preparatory storm-water works in Percival St began in February 2018, and that street has now been resurfaced.

____________________________________________________________


For more info and updates head to the following pages.  Please FOLLOW our Wordpress site, or LIKE our Facebook group or page, to receive notifications as soon as they are published.

WORDPRESS WEBSITE - “Penshurst Park Development Plan - Community Notice Board”
https://penshurstpark.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK GROUP - "Penshurst Park Development Plan Discussions"
https://www.facebook.com/groups/637707403052289/

FACEBOOK PAGE - Save Our Parks, Trees and Wildlife”
https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurParksTreesAndWildlife/

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION:
http://www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/Council/Major-Projects/Penshurst-Park-Masterplan

https://www.davidcoleman.com.au/media/media-releases/federal-funding-upgrade-st-george-sporting-facilities

Thank you for your help!
Cheers
Kathryn

Contact: Kathryn Skelsey (local resident, Cambridge St Penshurst) 
0408-912-248 
k.skelsey@bigpond.com



Today: Save our Parks, Trees and Wildlife is counting on you

Save our Parks, Trees and Wildlife needs your help with “Preserve Our Natural Green Space and "Backyard" on Penshurst Park”. Join Save our Parks, Trees and Wildlife and 191 supporters today.