View towards Pyrmont Park

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The community group that pushed for the creation of Pyrmont Park celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday.

After pressure from Friends of Pyrmont Point (FOPP), the park was created through a green ban by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). The action of local residents helped stop the former Water Police site from being handed over to developers, who wanted to build a 13-storey building on the site.

Marcelle Hoff, former Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney and head of FOPP, said the group came together to prevent the loss of publicly-owned land.

“Not at any stage were people given the choice of keeping this site as public open space,” she said.

Ms Hoff said that the process was not the result of some great pre-planned grand idea but the FOPP experience did provide a template for other groups.

“In actual fact, whilst having a strong commitment to social justice I didn’t have any experience organising community campaigns. It was clear that we had to consider our values and ideals, and assure ourselves that we would live by them,” she said.

Peter Devoy, who heads up local charity Pyrmont Cares and helped out on the campaign to establish Pirrama Park, said he couldn’t see FOPP continuing.

“At the next AGM, the organisation will probably be dissolved,” he said.

Mr Devoy said that despite the success of FOPP, community groups were finding it hard to get community support.

“Local groups are struggling to find relevancy,” he said.

A number of other local groups have been created however to fill the space left by FOPP. Among them is the Pyrmont Action group, which was created in 2003 to campaign for improved infrastructure for Pyrmont.