Bathurst's Centennial Park scoping study to take place

BATHURST Regional Council has been accused of making a “provocative decision” in its awarding of a scoping study tender for Centennial Park.

Bathurst company Integrated Design Group will conduct a scoping study into the park’s future uses, which could range from keeping it as open space to constructing a new community building.

A council notice said the study “would assist council in determining a range of possible options for the future use of Centennial Park”.

In January, former mayor Gary Rush said all options were being considered, and he would not rule out buildings being constructed on the site.

And, while council may have now announced which company will conduct the study, it provided no information on what ideas Integrated Design Group had for the future of the park.

Friends of Centennial Park (FoCP) group member Peter Simmons said they have long been concerned about the park’s future.

“It does seem a provocative decision to award the scoping study tender to a company that specialises in buildings, not parks or gardens,” he said.

“Centennial Park is in an area of town that has seen population density increase dramatically in recent decades.

“So many blocks have been subdivided with units, and those units have little or no garden.”

FoCP member Vianne Tourle said the group have already called on council to improve the park, but to keep it as an open space.

It does seem a provocative decision to award the scoping study tender to a company that specialises in buildings, not parks or gardens. - Friends of Centennial Park group member Peter Simmons

“[We] are interested in exploring ideas and designs that enable people to interact with and become closer to nature,” she said.

New mayor Graeme Hanger said an in-depth community consultation would be conducted in the scoping study, and this would involve liaising with all community interest groups such as Friends of Centennial Park.

“A public discussion forum, open to all members of the community, will also be arranged, as will a working party with councillors to generate ideas for the park’s future use,” he said.

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