16-14-1 - Don't Divide Schofields

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We, the undersigned, call upon Blacktown City Council to reconsider its proposal of renaming part of Schofields outlined by the new Suburb boundaries as Area 11 (Mambara, Wran or Rankine) in the Public Exhibition document, File number 16-14-1.

http://yoursay.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/newsuburbs

We, the residents of Schofields (Zone 11), have carefully considered Council’s proposal and deliberated about the impact that this will have on our families and our communities. We jointly present this petition to contest Council’s proposal. Specifically, we wish to object the change of name for the zone 11 as per the “Revised suburbs area map”.

We object on the following grounds:

1. Impact on sense of belonging to our community

2. Inadequate processes for community notification of Council’s intention to change the suburb name

3. Insufficient information about the rationale for Council’s intention to change the suburb name

4. Insufficient choice of alternative names that we are able to relate to

5. Concern about impact on financial value of residential property

We believe the greatest impact that this proposal has is on our sense of belonging to our community. Council would agree that sense of place is important to all Australians. Hugh Clifford Mackay AO put it so eloquently in an article in The Age, dated October 15, 2005, “Place…is fundamental to the human sense of self, sense of community, sense of mortality and sense of destiny.” As residents of Schofields, we feel that we have a strong sense of belonging to our community. Our sense of community bonding is driven in large part by our connection to other residents of Schofields.

Our children are involved in numerous local community activities and many of our children attend Schofields Public School, which is just a short walk away from where we live. Can Council imagine the sense of isolation and disconnection our children may experience when they are no longer a part of the suburb they have grown up in? Or perhaps the social ostracism they may experience from other children at their school when they are all of a sudden not “one of them” Much of the bond that our children share is driven by an intrinsic appreciation of being from the same place. We are deeply concerned about the impact that the change in name will have on our collective sense of belonging to the Schofields community and strongly urge Council to reconsider its proposal.

We are also concerned about Council’s notification processes. We were only made aware of Council’s proposal to change the name of our suburb after one of the residents viewed a discussion on a social media page. We feel that this is highly inadequate and would urge that Council consider its means of seeking consultation from residents. We worry that despite Council’s noble intentions of seeking community feedback, not enough of our voices will be heard because not enough of us were aware of the proposed changes.

We would also like to receive information about the rationale for Council’s proposal. We appreciate that Council would have valid reasons to call for the naming of new suburbs. We were, however, unable to find this information and seek for Council to disseminate this information more widely. This would perhaps follow Council’s processes for changing the name of the LGA, at which time we were made aware of the rationale for the proposal, and whilst unsuccessful, it helped to inform the debate.

We also believe that Council has provided us with an insufficient range of alternative names. We do not feel that we are able to relate to the current range of names that Council has offered, and would like to know what consultation process will be followed to reach a more suitable name. At this stage, all we can refer to is an online poll that is open access. Resident that are not in zone 11 can also complete this poll and we are concerned that you will not get the true views of residents in this area through this means alone. We believe that, if Council has sufficient rationale for moving to rename the suburb, that we should have sufficient opportunities to contribute to a discussion around the name, particularly as we will be most affected by this change. An example that may address the issue of our children feeling ostracised from the rest of the Schofields community may be to rename our section of Schofields to Schofields Heights (or see below). Again, we would need to see an open and transparent process being developed by Council to ensure such an option is acceptable for the wider community in which we live.

As states by Wayne Gatt in his petition against the renaming of zone 12, “The Hill’s council had a recent proposal on exhibition to rename two areas to ‘North Kellyville’ and ‘Norwest’ – it is my understanding that both names were chosen to reflect names that have been widely used by the community for these areas. This follows previous proposals to rename parts of Kellyville to ‘Bella Vista Meadows’ or ‘Balmoral Hills’ that were not successful.

It’s my understanding that in recent years when the Blacktown Council boundary of 'Kellyville' was renamed to 'Kellyville Ridge', feedback provided at this time was to retain the name 'Kellyville' in the suburb name. The name Vinegar Hill was also proposed for this area and was not successful.

‘Bungarribee’ was chosen as the name for a new suburb in Blacktown, which is on the site of the Bungarribee property. ‘Bungarribee’ was easy to identify to this area, not only through the association with the property, but also as by the well-known road that leads to the suburb is called ‘Bungarribee Road’”.

Finally, whilst we feel that we are all largely intrinsically motivated, many of us cannot help but to think about the impact that the change in name will have on the value of our properties. I am sure Council would agree that purchasing a property anywhere in Sydney is incredibly expensive, and residents of a suburb buy into the area after having considered a lot of factors. Suburb name is a major factor in this deliberation. Whilst we appreciate that Council would not be able to reassure us that this proposal will not have a financial impact, we would like Council to consider this factor carefully and ensure that it is discussed as part of its efforts to consult with the community.

We trust that this provides Council with some guidance as it further considers it proposal. Ideally, we would like for Council to reconsider its decision to change suburb names. If this is not possible, we urge that Council provide the community with clear rationale for its decision and offer the Schofields community with an opportunity to propose and consider names that our families are better able to relate to.

 Suggested names could include (but not limited to):

Schofields Heights (due to the high elevation)

Schofields East (zone 11 is orientated in the east of proposed new ‘Schofields’)

Schofields Rise (due to the high elevation)

St Albans (well-known road that runs through the proposed suburb)

St Albans Heights (well-known road that runs through the proposed suburb & due to the high elevation)

 

This petition will be delivered to:

The General Manager

Blacktown City Council

 



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