CENTENNIAL Park will remain a green oasis near the centre of Bathurst after council finally approved plans for a redevelopment on Wednesday night.
Councillor Jess Jennings said Bathurst Regional Council should be awarded a “gold medal for over-thinking” its options for the park after a lengthy consultation process that simply confirmed what residents had wanted all along.
A number of members of the Friends of Centennial Park addressed councillors during public question time to state one last time that they did not want to see residential, commercial or civic buildings constructed on the site.
Both councillors and FoCP members acknowledged the good working relationship that had been estblished through the consultation process.
“I thank councillors for listening over several years,” FoCP member Peter Simmons said.
“We’ve held open days, had a petition of more than 2000 signatures, had articles in the Western Advocate and on the radio and we’ve talked with calls over the phone, on text and through Facebook,” he said.
“The public has expressed a clear affection for Centennial Park as an open space which comes through in the report before you tonight.”
Cr Jennings conceded a decision had been a long time coming but was happy with the outcome.
“It’s not too often a council gets accused of over-thinking an issue but on this one I think we got a gold medal for over-thinking,” he said.
“It’s great it’s got to this point, even if it’s a few years too late.”
The report to councillors by engineering services director Darren Sturgiss recommended the park redevelopment should include new trees, barbecue area, seating, shelters, playground equipment, watering system and paths.
FoCP has also listed disabled access as a priority.
Council has set aside $85,000 in the draft 2018-19 budget to develop a detailed design for the park and Mr Sturgiss said that process would start as soon as the budget was formally adopted.
Council has also applied for $285,294 through round two of the Stronger Country Communities Fund to go towards ground beautification works once a design has been finalised.
The complete upgrade is expected to cost around $1 million.