Willoughby City Council return Talus Reserve parking area Naremburn to recreational users!

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Willoughby City Council, return the Talus Reserve car park in Naremburn to recreational users of the reserve as required under the Crown Land Management Act 2016, by changing the car park signage now, to reflect that parking is only available for users of the reserve, and work to develop appropriate ways to enforce this.

Change is needed now at Talus Reserve. Damaging action by Willoughby City Council in erecting time-restricted car park signage in 2018, has ensured that the Reserve has become a commuter car park, rather than a sportsground. Members of the public who wish to use the Talus Reserve sportsground are now very often unable to safely and reasonably access it. This is now severely impacting on the ability of the public to participate in physical and social recreation at this sportsground.

What action do we want from The Mayor and Councillors?
We call on Willoughby City Council to erect signage on the Talus Reserve car park to specify that any motorist who parks their car on the Reserve, must stay on the Reserve for the duration of their use of the Reserve car park. A suitable enforcement system should be created to implement this important land use management requirement. We stress that we are requesting that any member of the public may park their car at any time on the Talus Reserve, on the condition that the driver remains at the Reserve for the duration of their use of the car park.

Talus Reserve is Crown Land. It was reserved for public recreation in 1949 and the site is now categorised as a sportsground under the Crown Land Management Act 2016. Eight on-site tennis courts have been actively used and enjoyed by Sydneysiders since about 1978. The reserve grounds are wholly open to members of the public and it is substantially unfenced. The on-site car park is not gated, and is open at all times to vehicles from Talus Street via two short driveways.

Willoughby City Council (WCC) erected time-restricted parking signs in the small 36 space Talus Reserve car park in 2018. This action effectively opened the Reserve car park to very high demand commuter parking. It has decimated the long standing ability of recreational users to access the on-site tennis courts, café and reserve by car. Access to the Reserve specifically by car is required and necessary for the vast majority of users of this sportsground.

Signatories to this petition acknowledge that the pre-2018 car park signage on the Reserve was not appropriate for a public recreation reserve, as it gave the impression that the use of the car park and reserve was restricted to members of a club. Petitioners argue that this signage should have been replaced with appropriate and reasonable signage, to support the successful use of the site for recreation, by restricting the car park to those members of the public who are using the sportsground. The car park is of a small enough size, that a system of lodging user car registration numbers and a phone contact number, would be an option to enforce this important land use management requirement.

Parents and carers with pre-school aged children (many with babies in prams) are now prevented from safely and reasonably accessing the recreational facility due to the 2018 car park changes. The lack of available on-site car spaces for parents and carers with young children since 2018, has caused extremely unsafe conditions in the car park. Those parents and carers who are choosing to persevere with start time dependent visits to Talus Reserve since 2018, are often forced to negotiate a full car park, with limited to no off-site car spaces nearby, and a very congested Talus car park. The car park is so small, that many drivers must repeatedly reverse to move their car around the full car park. Drivers are often doing this while other parents and young children are attempting to walk through the car park to the tennis courts, or onto the site via the car park driveway and through the car park to the courts. These parents and carers have babies in prams and excited pre-school aged children on foot, many of whom are difficult to control due to their young age. WCC is on notice that they have inadvertently created this unsafe situation with their car park signage of 2018.

Tennis players, competitors, spectators, those who book tennis coaching services, those who hire a tennis court, and social site users, are similarly unable to reasonably access the reserve by car, because when they arrive at the Reserve, the site car park is now often completely full of commuters and off-site users. In addition, surrounding roads have limited to no car parking spaces available, due to high commuter, local business and hospital and medical related demand, deriving from its uniquely central and high density urban location. Note that St Leonards Railway Station and Royal North Shore Hospital are each located about 500m from this recreation site.

I started this petition, because…
The Talus Reserve has become a commuter car park. Members of the public who want to use the Talus tennis courts and reserve, are now often unable to safely and conveniently access it, which is severely impacting on the ability of the public to participate in physical and social recreation there. Talus Reserve users highly value the social and physical benefits that it has to offer. WCC's 2018 action in the car park has put at risk this highly utilised and successful social and physical recreation site.

If Willoughby City Council does not rectify the current unworkable and unsafe car park signage, it will cause the sure and steady decline of this centrally located and incredibly valued sport and recreation site.