BY JOSHUA KINDL
Sydney’s beloved Moore Park is in danger of becoming worthy of a Joni Mitchell song unless additional funding can be found for the area.
This call for additional maintenance resources comes as the New South Wales State Government undertakes final assessment on a potential $705 million refurbishment for Allianz Stadium.
In a recent statement, Saving Moore Park Convenor, Michael Waterhouse, said that Moore Park was in dire need of funding, citing deteriorating conditions and worsened resident experience.
“Moore Park has become extremely degraded over the years, with fences everywhere limiting access and car parking destroying the Park’s surface.
“The Government needs to make a significant investment in remediating the Park, and we believe it’s in its political interests as much as the community’s interests that it do so,” Mr Waterhouse said.
New funding would supplement the existing Moore Park 2040 Master Plan, administered by the Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust, and greatly improve the conditions of the area for residents and commuters alike.
These improvements include further ‘greening’ of Moore Park; new Light Rail network integration; 10km of new pathways for cyclists and pedestrians, and a common-sense approach to car parking.
The 2040 Master Plan is the first in Moore Park’s 150-year history, which Mr Waterhouse said in a recent statement was why it was imperative the State Government implemented new funding soon.
“The need for funding and the level of funding… is appropriate,” he said.
This comes after several reports released mid-2017 outlining plans for Moore Park to become home to a myriad of new facilities, such as student accommodation, commercial offices and sporting grounds.
In a November 2017 statement, Mr Waterhouse said that the funding needed by Moore Park to not only survive, but to flourish, was a fraction of that being spent on the popular sporting stadium.
“An investment of $10 million – a mere 1.4 per cent of the proposed expenditure on the new stadium – would enable Moore Park to be significantly upgraded after decades of chronic under-funding,” he said.
He added that the long, fruitful history of the park within Sydney, along with local residents’ wishes for greater amounts of green space, made funding for the area essential.
“Moore Park is of vital importance to the community, and particularly those people living in the rapidly growing area west of the park.
“Over the next decade this will become the most densely populated area in Australia. People living there will need ample green space for recreation – the reason the Park was established in 1866,” Mr Waterhouse said.
Moore Park, once known for little more than home to the Sydney Showground and the annual Easter Show, has since become a national hub for film, television and entertainment, as well as for a number of sporting events.
The small suburb houses not only Fox Studios, but also the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground and the Allianz Stadium and the entertainment venue Hordern Pavilion.
As a result, the area tends to be overcrowded for much of the year, leading to concerns from local residents that the overall wellbeing of Moore Park is being forgotten.
However, both the State Government and SCG Trust, who administer the land where development is to take place, have made assurances that Moore Park would not be negatively affected by any future plans.
NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, ensured residents that their needs were to be considered prior to those of any potential development plans.
“Wherever we build new projects we take the necessary action to make sure the community is front and centre,” she said.
While Mr Waterhouse admits that these assurances are welcome, in recent letters he has called on both the State Government and SCG Trust to “promote the full and free disclosure of information relating to the impact of the redevelopment on Moore Park and on the local community.”
Mr Waterhouse hopes that continued action by his organisation and local residents will force the State Government to take notice and save Moore Park.
“It’s unlikely we’ll get a better chance to win significant funding for Moore Park than we have now,” he said.