Letter | Still too many questions about George Park plan

TAKEOVER TARGET: Nearby resident Professor David Goldney is one of those concerned about Bathurst Regional Council's $6.4 million George Park plan.
TAKEOVER TARGET: Nearby resident Professor David Goldney is one of those concerned about Bathurst Regional Council's $6.4 million George Park plan.

YOUR editorial of Friday, August 31 (“Sport clubs and residents all need to share”) raised some important and relevant issues regarding the process behind the proposed sporting precinct at George Park.

I live in a street opposite the park and only found out about the plan by accident through word of mouth.

This is not the first time that local residents have not been informed of previous constructions in the park.

Council should do us the courtesy of contacting us.

They should also, like most other councils, have an advertising and notification policy.

Perhaps there is one, but it can't be found on the Public Documents part of their website.

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I spoke to an older neighbour of mine. She had no idea about the plan; she does not read the Advocate and she does not have a computer or know how to use one.

How is she going to be able to make a response to the “Yoursay” survey by council?

Readers can rest assured that local residents keep a close eye on the park.

We know what happens there. We know that many people use it for exercise and other passive recreation.

Many of us enjoy watching both the AFL and the cricket (along with all the other locals and visitors). Sometimes we even clean up the mess left by some users.

I urge Bathurstians to read the plan for George Park very carefully.

It is only about 1600 words long (plus rough costings).

As they read it they should note that it contains no mention of safety; the implications of it being very close to Carenne School and Glenray; the effects of traffic increases in two streets which are already busy, where people will park after the car park is full.

What are the long-term intentions of the AFL clubs? 

How many people will be affected by the eight lighting towers?

How many trees will be removed to make way for the security fence? What might this fence be like? Like the one suggested in the early 1980s?

George Park is part of the Heritage Area: is the plan consistent with this? Is the plan consistent with council’s Community Engagement Strategic Plan? Is it consistent with council’s Bathurst 2040 Community Strategic Plan? 

Furthermore, it needs to be asked if all the “improvements” that are suggested in the report are appropriate or need to be undertaken?

Is the lower level really used “seven days per week during the AFL season”? Are “competitions and events … held on a daily basis”? 

George Park locals know the answer to the last two questions!

Is council really supporting a $6.4 million project based on the recommendations of a 1600 word report and two pages of rough costings? 

There are many other questions that need to be asked.

Did council, the AFL clubs and the Bathurst District Cricket Association consider other options?

Is there an overarching plan to improve the facilities for all sports in Bathurst?

Where is the best place to site these facilities? Who designated George Park as the Australian Rules Football Precinct for the Bathurst region?

Were all the community stakeholders consulted? 

Your editorial rightly pointed out that we know the answer to the last question.

I have contacted council and asked them to delay the “Yoursay” survey and formally notify all those who may be affected, so that real community engagement can take place. 

In the interim, please visit the council website and have your say: https://yoursay.bathurst.nsw.gov.au/georgepark/survey_tools/georgepark2

Chris O’Rourke, Mitchell