By Joe Bourke
The campaign to extend Pyrmont’s green space by 60 percent at Ballaarat Park kicked off last Thursday May 21.
Since the nearby Star Casino’s billion dollar redevelopment, the number of people coming to Darling Island has increased, particularly at night.Community members have cited anti-social behaviour, including hoon racing, as one of the reasons for the campaign to increase the park’s size.
Co-convenor of the campaign, Jean-Paul Markopoulous, spoke at the campaign launch last week and said the problem would be significantly reduced if the roads surrounding the park were removed.
“We call on the City to reduce the problem by closing off the streets around Ballaarat Park, reducing the number of late night parking spots and removing the streets hoons use for a late night racing strip,” he said.
“We residents and our children deserve sleep at night and a pleasant waterfront park to use during the day instead of ugly asphalt.”
“By removing the streets around Ballaarat Park, the amount of open parkland would increase by 60 percent and the level of late night antisocial behaviour would decrease substantially.”
The Pyrmont-Ultimo area is the most densely populated precinct in Australia, and the campaign aims to achieve a “better, greener environment”.
Group Publisher of the Alternative Media Group of Australia, Lawrence Gibbons, is the other co-convenor of the Ballaarat Park campaign, and noted Pyrmont’s huge growth as a key reason for the campaign to extend the park.
“Twenty years ago, when I launched the City Hub out of an office in Ultimo, the Pyrmont Ultimo peninsula was just a semi-deserted backwater. The residential population was 3,000 and only 5,000 worked here,” he said.
“Today more than 20,000 people live here and more than 30,000 people work here.”
Despite being told by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) that there had been “no decision on the transfer of land owned by SHFA to the City of Sydney”, a spokesperson from the City of Sydney told City Hub that they were “continuing to work with all relevant stakeholders” to manage more land within their LGA. This would point to land like Ballaarat Park being handed to the City in the near future.
The campaign launch, held in Pyrmont’s Signorelli Gastronomia, also marked the end of City Hub’s crowd funding campaign, which raised almost $20,000.The night was a celebration of the funds raised for City Hub throughout the crowd funding campaign.
City Hub would like to extend its most sincere gratitude to everybody that donated to help keep Sydney City’s last independent newspaper alive.
A Facebook group has been set up for the Ballaarat Park campaign, called “the Ballaarat Park Support Group”. In addition to this, you can sign the onlign petition for the park’s future, Petitioning The City of Sydney, SHFA, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Finance to “give us more space for Ballaarat Park not more parking spaces in Pyrmont”.