Inner West Independent

Inner West councillor says state government invitation to skate park an ‘insult’

Skate

Plans for a new skate facility in Leichhardt Park are progressing. Photo: Inner West Council.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

An Inner West councillor has called the mayor and general manager’s invitation of the NSW Greater Sydney Parklands Trust chief executive to the site of the proposed Leichhardt skate park an “insult to the community”, accusing the pair of dismissing “the local residents and [instead asking] for opinions from state government”.

Independent John Stamolis, who has been a councillor in the Inner West since 2008, said “by interfering in a local park issue, the Greater Sydney Parklands Trust has reinforced the fears we have about them”.

Skate

John Stamolis. Photo: Supplied.

Earlier this week, Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne shared a letter addressed to General Manager Peter Gainsford from the Trust’s chief executive Suellen Fitzgerald, who conveyed her support for a new Inner West skate park, saying that the “capacity for youth to be engaged with natural areas is of key community importance”.

“The mayor met with the CEO of the Trust on site at Callan Park a few weeks ago and the CEO was impressed by the plans for the skate park,” a council spokesperson told City Hub when asked why Fitzgerald was invited to comment on the proposed facility.

“Without any invitation, [she] volunteered to offer a letter of support from the Trust.”

Skate park to remove 45 trees from local park: Stamolis

Threats to local trees, canopy cover and open green space have been at the heart of concerns for the skate park, with Cr Stamolis saying that 45 mature trees will be removed to make way for the facility and accusing Fitzgerald of being “completely uninformed” about threats to the existing park.

It comes as Inner West Council announced this week that they are on track to surpass its previous record of tree planting in parks and streets, with Labor councillor Chloe Smith calling it a “win for the community and the environment”. Council has allocated $2 million for tree planting in its 2022/23 budget.

Resident Peter Watts spoke against the skate park, saying that “too many trees and precious parkland would be lost” to the development.

Council allocated $1.49 million for the skate park in its 2021 budget and will vote on the future of the facility next Tuesday.

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