Lismore City Council (LCC) has joined the ranks of governments selling off public assets to pay its bills.
LCC proposes to rezone and sell 17 council-owned parks and two parcels of land around the city in a bid to save money that it says ‘could be better spent on larger neighbourhood parks’.
Most of the blocks are in residential areas and would be sold for housing but the council says it is willing to talk to groups of local residents who wish to maintain them as open space.
‘As part of the Imagine Lismore 10-year plan it was recognised that Council must enter into community partnerships in order to make ends meet. We understand some people may like having these parks on their doorstep and we’re happy to talk about ways in which we can facilitate the community’s taking care of them,’ LCC’s senior property project manager Lindsay Walker said yesterday.
He did not elaborate on whether neighbours would also be expected to buy the parks as well as maintain them but added ‘most are small, steep and not well utilised’.
‘The reality is these parcels of land cost a lot to maintain and we know that the money could be better spent on our larger neighbourhood parks that are used by many more people as they provide better amenity. It’s not necessarily going to be a popular decision but it’s prudent financially. Council needs to start using its resources more wisely and this planning proposal is an important step in doing that.’
Echonetdaily understands many of the ‘pocket parks’ were gifted by developers as part of the DA process when new estates were opened up. Often the land with least residential appeal was left to the council to maintain.
Mr Walker said that most of them do not meet the standards for a neighbourhood park as set out in the Lismore Development Control Plan.
These standards are:
• The site has a minimum area of 2500m2.
• The site is centrally located in terms of residential area that it will service.
• The site is readily accessible from most lots within its catchment area.
• At least 90 per cent of the site has a gradient of less than five per cent.
• The site has a minimum frontage to a public road of 20m (preferably on a corner lot).
• The site has a high level of visibility from surrounding lots and the public road.
• The site is capable of accommodating the appropriate level of playground equipment and other park furniture.
• The primary purpose of the park is for recreational uses.
• The site preferably supports some mature trees or shrubs.
The planning proposal was prepared in response to the Lismore Sports and Recreation Plan 2011–2021, which identified a number of small urban parks that could be reclassified to ‘operational’ land and/or rezoned to reflect the adjoining land use and sold.
Copies of the planning proposal, maps and accompanying documentation are available for viewing via the ‘Have Your Say’ section of Council’s website www.lismore.nsw.gov.au.
Mr Walker said people can provide feedback on the planning proposal during the public exhibition period, which runs until August 2. Email [email protected].