BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
Leichhardt Council has vowed to overturn the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s decision to deny them a skate park.
“The same Government that has let the rest of Callan Park fall apart through neglect says a skate park will damage the ‘heritage’ of the place,” Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said.
“If you want to open a casino or build high rise towers in this town their door is open, but if you want to pay for and build a desperately needed facility for young people, they shut you out.
The Office of Environment and Heritage rejected the skate park because it was not fitting with the character of the park.
The Office of Heritage said that “the proposed development of a regional skate park in this location on the site would materially affect the heritage significance of Callan Park Conservation Area and Buildings and harm its picturesque landscape character.”
Friends of Callan Park said that they supported a skate park in principle, but that the design put forward by the council had morphed into something else entirely.
“[S]adly the simple community skate park that we and many others envisioned has turned out to become a large over engineered skate park with accompanying art and entertainment spaces; including a formalized stage area. It is too large a development for this site,” the group wrote to the Council in February.
The letter said that the Friends of Callan Park Group would support a “simple family friendly community skate park,” which would be used only during the day.
Friends of Callan Park also listed concerned with the costing for the park, and whether or not that included the removal of asbestos. It also raised concerns with the litter generated from the park.
The group wrote that the City of Sydney had decided to build a skate park in Bicentennial Park two kilometers away, which may reduce the need for the park in the local area.
Greens Councillor Rochelle Porteous said the all members of council supported the park. She said the most important thing was start and negotiate with the Department of Heritage to secure the skate park.
“The issue now is we need to sit down with the heritage council, and go through the issues, and see how we can work through that and resolve that, because all the Greeens councilors, and I think all of council supports the skate park.”
“Clearly, it is important that the issues which have been raised are listened to and we seek to find a way forward, taking on board the objectiions from the Department because heritage is also very important in Callan park.”