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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Rally called to save Suffolk Park community land

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L-R Byron Shire Cr Sara Ndiaye, SPPA vice president Duncan Miller, rally organiser Patsy Brosnan, NSW National Party MLC Ben Franklin, SPPA’s Charlotte Harrison, Arakwal spokesperson Delta Kay, gounding member of Suffolk Park, F.C, Paul Scharka, and SPPA’s Christine Guinard. Photo contributed
L-R Byron Shire Cr Sara Ndiaye, Suffolk Park resident Duncan Miller, SPPA vice president Patsy Brosnan, NSW National Party MLC Ben Franklin, SPPA’s Charlotte Harrison, Arakwal spokesperson Delta Kay, founding member of Suffolk Park, F.C, Paul Scharka, and SPPA’s Christine Guinard. Photo contributed

The Suffolk Park Progress Association (SPPA) has called a rally for this coming Wednesday (November 16) to save its only park, which is set to be sold by the Education Department by auction before the end of the month.

SPPA members and community representatives met with NSW National Party MLC, Ben Franklin yesterday evening (Sunday) to discuss the proposed auction of Lot 60, Beech Drive and how to stop it.

suffolk-park-rally-signThe three-hectare site is currently home to the Suffolk Park FC, a community garden, a BMX bike track and a children’s playground.

Mr Franklin told the group he was in ‘ongoing discussions’ with Adrian Piccoli, NSW education minister, who is the National Party minister responsible for selling the land.

Mr Franklin is hoping the minister will remove the land from commercial sale and transfer ownership to Byron Shire Council on behalf of the Suffolk Park community.

A Byron Bay resident himself, Mr Franklin visited the ‘village green’ to see, just what it is the local community is campaigning to save.

He told the group he believes ‘government should be about genuine, community representation. If that’s the case, then to keep this land in public hands… should be an easy decision to make.’

Patsy Brosnan, vice president of the Suffolk Park Progress Association told Mr Franklin that the entire neighbourhood was once open fields.

‘We’d like to keep these current fields for community use; a tribute to the past and a legacy for future generations of Suffolk Park residents. To do this it must become Byron Shire Council land, zoned appropriately and held in perpetuity as community, recreational space – to provide an open space for the social, physical and mental well being of this community.’

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith has reiterated her calls for the land to be sold to the council for ‘a reasonable price’.

Ms Smith said she was ‘doing everything I can at the moment to broker our council being able to buy that land from the Department of Education,’ she told ABC radio this morning.

‘It really comes down to the minister and just how greedy they are,’ she added.

Byron mayor Simon Richardson said that a mayoral minute to be voted upon on this Thursday would see authority delegated to GM Ken Gainger to ‘make it happen’ subject to a fair price being struck.

The rally will be held onsite at 5:30pm on Wednesday, November 16. Speakers will include Byron mayor Simon Richardson and Coogera Pre School director Victoria Handley, whose pupils regularly visit the community gardens as part of their curriculum.

A large crowd is expected, after the progress association’s petition to save the ‘village green’ has received more than 2,000 signatures.




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