Booran Road has finally been opened to the public. It is not without controversy. Whether one loves the new park or not many, many issues require investigation as to how this development has been conceived, handled, and the cost(s) involved.

For a council that has the least amount of public open space in the state, it is unbelievable that an area can be designated as ‘open space’ yet fenced off behind tall (and expensive) gates and access denied. This is the situation at the new Booran Road ‘park’.

We estimate the closed off area to be in the vicinity of 2500 square metres of a 1.6 hectare site. What are the reasons for this exclusion and how can it be justified? Are we to assume that this ‘urban forest’ will become the private open space of the neighbouring apartment building? If so, have they paid for any of this?

The next issue is why council continues to change plans that were not part of any community consultation and without warning or costings provided? Below is part of the council ‘consultation’ flyer which reveals a totally different park to what we now have. The green open expanses depicted in this flyer have shrunk dramatically and been replaced by more and more concrete.

The third issue is cost. According to a recent Leader article council admits to an $11 million expenditure – but they have refused to provide any real details of these costs. We estimate the expenditure to have been far and above this figure. Even one consultant engineer employed for the project puts the figure at $12 million. The image below comes from Linkedin –

When ratepayer funds are used to create a ‘park’ that:

  • varies considerably from what was proposed
  • when council isn’t forthcoming on total expenditure
  • when public open space is barricaded and the public excluded

then residents have every right to question how well their rates are being used and whether or not this project is another example of sheer profligacy and poor management, plus lack of transparency and accountability.

As far as the aesthetics of the site go, opinion is divided. Some believe that what has been created is no more than a concrete Disneyland (suitable for young children perhaps) but certainly not catering to the consensus of opinion that desired ‘passive open space’. Time will tell……..