Byron Shire Council says it is unable to afford the market price of the Suffolk Park sports field that the government wants to sell, and mayor Simon Richardson (Greens) is calling on the community to ‘stand up and speak directly to the government.’
It’s the latest in the unfolding battle for residents to retain the open space on Beech Drive; owners of the land, the NSW education department, say the land is surplus to their needs and have pegged it for auction.
And time is running out for residents to make their case clear, the mayor says.
In a video produced by Bakery Media Productions, the mayor says that after a unanimous council vote to negotiate a purchase of the land, ‘We since found that the valuation on the land showed it was about three times as expensive as we thought.’
‘We just do not have that money, and if the government holds the line and sell it at the valued price, we can’t afford it.’ He says the community needs to let the state government know that the recent protest at the sportsfield ‘is just the tip of the iceberg if they don’t negotiate in good faith with the community.’
‘Every bit of pressure will lower the asking price.’
The mayor also explained how public pressure can influence a decision.
‘Politicians quantify how powerful correspondence is – a petition is 10 votes. A handwritten letter, 100 votes and a phone call is 1,000 votes. Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call.’
The video is online at https://app.frame.io/f/rbi4nfG3.
n Education minister Adrian Piccoli’s phone number is 02 8574 5300.