There was an excellent and enthusiastic turnout to a community meeting on Wednesday that was called by concerned Narooma residents who had discovered that Council had intended to sell off their local Walker Park. After undertaking a strong publicity campaign and having local Councillor Phil Constable present on their behalf the Council acquiesced to withdraw the “intention to sell” from their open reserves strategy saying that it had been listed in error. Council had indicated that as the reserve was not being used it may as well be sold for development. The community quickly responded telling Council it had not been used because Council didn’t maintain it and had removed the playground and picnic facilities. Red faced the Council were told that the land was gifted to the community and that its failure to communicate regarding the “proposed sale” was unacceptable. As a show of positively moving forward the Friends of Walker Park group, led by Rob Obrien and Liz Cook took to social media and invited the community to come together and discuss what they would like to see in the park. Following a productive meeting at the location on Wednesday afternoon with community members and council’s recreation services manager Mark Upson and recreation planner Steve Picton Though the cut-off date for submissions to the recreation and open space strategy had passed the day before the group were advised that, as a result of their concerns being raised Walker Park was “on the table” and Council intended to continue with consultation and encourage the evolution of ideas
And there were many ideas. Caroline Wells offered up the idea of an edible landscape in a park setting that required no formal structure and therefore made no demands for maintenance.
Another idea was to celebrate the rich Koorie culture of the region and introduce pathways based on aboriginal designs. Only the day before a couple of the keen young Koorie kids had raked the park clean in readiness for the meeting. There is a wonderful opportunity for the very popular and positive Narooma school Landscaping Project to expand into Walker Park further including the wider diversity of ages that would enjoy the amenity.
Every one was in agreement that the park only required Low Tech things that mimic the natural environment – logs for park benches rather than formalised and very expensive seating.
Local arborist Merryn Carey is keen to help and prepared to draft up a design based on permaculture and Council staff encouraged that the key interest Walker Park folk could conduct an on-line poll so that the wider community can participate and have significant input working towards were a positive and clear direction
Photos by Rob Obrien