Council never fails to surprise when it comes to open space. The announcement that they have purchased a site in Neerim Road, Carnegie is, in our view, a mixed blessing indeed. Whilst we have consistently argued that it is Carnegie that requires a huge investment of funding for open space, we also query the motives behind this purchase.

Residents have been repeatedly told that council’s rationale for all its open space endeavours is based on the 2014 Open Space Strategy. Well, unfortunately, this particular purchase is at odds with what the OSS recommends. The ‘expert’ recommendations were for the purchase of land on the WEST SIDE of Koornang Road. This property is on the east. See the two images below –

Points to consider:

  • Will this purchase become the $3.61 million reason to ram through the sell of council’s carpark and set the stage for 8 storey developments?
  • Neerim Road itself is hardly a ‘pedestrianised’ street. It is full of high density dwellings already. Thus access from Neerim Road itself would certainly be limited
  • Residents on the south side of Neerim are also ‘disadvantaged’ given that the OSS decries the creation of open space that necessitates the crossing of major roads.
  • The crucial question of course is what does all this say about council’s intention to first listen to the community and then to act on the community’s views. If this sizeable amount of money has already been signed off, then what prospect is there that if the community doesn’t agree with the sell off and ‘repurposing’ of council land, that residents will be listened to? Or is 600 square metres in the most noisy, and inaccessible position, plus being overshadowed by 8 storey dwellings, all that residents can hope for?
  • Finally we again question the consistency and value of any council ‘policy’ when it can function to justify any decision when council so pleases, and then be ignored – also at council’s whim and hidden agendas!