Concept plans for ‘Our Park’ on Suffolk Park’s Beech Drive were shared with local residents last week. It comes after the community lobbied the state government – and won – to retain the land after it was flagged for sale as surplus.
The Suffolk Park Progress Association (SPPA) hosted two meetings with presentations by landscape architect Dan Plummer and Byron Shire Council’s manager of open spaces Michael Matthews. These initial plans were drawn up as a result of similar, community-led planning meetings held early last year.
Plans include new pedestrian paths, a bicycle track, a nature playground, seating and a small, public performance space. Drainage issues will have to be addressed throughout the park and shade will be created, both natural and man-made. The community gardens will remain but may be formalised depending on their ongoing usage and maintenance. A large section of the community-owned park will remain multi-use open space.
‘The bones are good but significant members of the community don’t have anything to do there,’ said Mr Plummer, whose vision for the park involves a wider demographic of Suffolk Park’s community.
Byron Shire Council’s Michael Matthews focused on the logistics of the plan, discussing the budget, planning stages and eventuation. $700,000 of Section 94 Funds are available for the Suffolk Park suburb – but only for new capital items.
He said, ‘Public safety is a priority,’ and suggested that a new pedestrian access path, running parallel to the current driveway, be prioritised.
President of the Suffolk Park Progress Association Donald Maughan concluded the meeting by welcoming ongoing community input from residents of all ages. They will be able to view these concept plans on the SPPA Website, SPPA Facebook page and community noticeboards. Feedback can be emailed to the progress association ([email protected]) where it will be collated and sent to Byron Shire Council.
Only then will a formal plan be drawn up and placed on public display.