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Dear Beagle Editor, ParkSense

It’s good to see the Council considering Open Space in the Shire again. Goodness knows we need it.

Even though surrounded by National Parks, and with some tree corridors, within town centres and their boundaries, usable, informal suburban green space is at a premium here.

Sports fields flourish even though the council itself, in the draft ROSS document, acknowledges that informal open space use is on the rise and sporting involvement is on the decline.

The draft ROSS proposal lists a lot of planned expenditure on sporting and structured recreation facilities but has a glaring lack of mention of small, informal and local parks.

With some 34% of the shire over 65yo, so many structured recreation areas seem to be an unbalanced provision of suitable accessible parkland to a significant proportion of the community.

We have 26.3% households with children and 10.8% with no car. Combine these three statistics and (even with some overlap) some 50% of the community is not being well catered for.

Suburban parks need to be within walking distance (some 400m), easily accessible, mostly flat, treed, with seats and shade, toilets and, preferably, on a bus route or near a school.

To help with this, developers need to be required to contribute usable, accessible portions of land, not goat track scraps or leftover gullies, as is often the case, and Council to shift priorities to match the community profile.

Thank goodness sense has been seen and the toilet block at Albert Ryan Park is to be kept in service. This is an example of a small, well-used, accessible park, with the added bonus of facilities for Tradies, Travellers, Taxis and locals with a glorious view of the Bay. An essential facility and park for this tourist-dependant town, and so close to the CBD.

Let’s maintain all the parks we have (no more to be handed over to other uses than recreation), add more small suburban parks and ‘greenways’, and keep our foreshore green, free and accessible for this and our grandchildren’s generation.

Dr Sue Mackenzie on behalf of Parks4theBay

#Community #Council #LocalStateFederal #Opinion

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