After over a decade of Council and community campaigning to save Callan Park, Leichhardt Council last Tuesday adopted the Callan Park Master Plan.

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After more than a decade of council and community campaigning to save Callan Park, Leichhardt Council adopted the Callan Park Master Plan last Tuesday.

“Following agreement on the governing body, and the incorporation of changes made the plan will be presented to the Minister for Planning for approval.

“Council will work to see it implemented without delay and the full potential of the entire Callan Park site realised,” said the Mayor of Leichhardt, Councillor Rochelle Porteous.

The Master Plan was designed with the aim of preserving open space and heritage, providing active and passive recreation space, and developing health and not-for-profit community and education facilities.

There has been strong support for the continuation of mental health services at the park. The plan outlines a Mental Health Precinct with mental health related services on site such as employment, living skills training and education and vocational activities.

“The cafes will be run as cooperatives or partnerships with mental health consumers, and other projects will include a key mental health aspect – such as the expansion of Glovers Community Garden, which will include two plots for the use of mental health rehabilitation,” said Mayor Porteous.

“Council will recommend that a minimum of 30 per cent of on site employment is filled by mental health consumers.”

Following intensive campaigning from community groups there will be no increase to parking available in Callan Park.

Independent Councillor, John Stamolis said the adoption of the Master Plan was “wonderful” but that this historic achievement “was somewhat marred by a meeting that dragged out too long”.

He said, “It was a shame that there were only a few people left at the end of the night to witness such a historic and defining occasion. The meeting should have been shorter so that the community could stay and celebrate after.”

Councillor Stamolis put the length of the marathon meeting down to the multiple amendments passed by some of the other councillors. He said this undermined the master plan and democratic process and was “a little disappointing”.

Liberal Party Councillor Vera-Ann Hannaford said whilst she was confident the consultants did an excellent job with the community consultation and preparing the plan, she felt there were a number of superfluous and costly items embedded in the draft. She said that was why she moved eighteen amendments.

Councillor Weiss said he always expected the meeting to be long because of the importance of Callan Park, and the range of stakeholders. He said it was great that robust debate amongst the Councillors on some of the fine details of the master plan took place in public.

By Jason Marshall