THE future of Centennial Park has again come under the spotlight with Bathurst Regional Council calling for quotes for a scoping study into the open space.
Bordered by Bentinck, Lambert, Seymour and Rocket streets, the park hit the headlines last year after mayor Gary Rush said he was considering a greenfield sight for a new cultural centre.
At the time, the Western Advocate reported that council had put aside $50,000 for a feasibility study for the park’s development.
However, on Saturday a council notice stated it was looking for “companies in land use and planning” to provide a scoping study.
“[It] would assist council in determining a range of possible options for the future use of Centennial Park,” the notice said.
The consultant brief stated that: “Council wishes to explore all possible options available that would be permissible on this land.”
Council wishes to explore all possible options available that would be permissible on this land.Bathurst Regional Council notice
Cr Rush said all options will be considered in the scoping study and he would not rule out buildings being constructed on the site.
“There are lots of opportunities around Centennial Park, it is a very significant open space that most people would recognise offers options around enhancement and beautification,” he said.
However, Friends of Centennial Park group members said they had concerns over the ambiguity of the council notice.
“It’s been an open space since 1848 … it’s unique, it’s older than Machattie Park,” member Vianne Tourle said.
“We thought the $50,000 was to go towards the management of this [the park] as a green space.”
Member Bernadette Wood welcomed the study, but said was surprised by the openness of council’s wording for the park’s future.
“We [the group] were hoping for council to explicitly source the expertise of those with experience planning and managing recreational park land,” she said.
Group member Peter Simmons said with increased housing density in the area, adequate green space was vital.
He likened Centennial Park to the recently upgraded Peace Park in that it also needed a lot of work before council directed funds to it as a bicentennial project.