Graham and Cooper family, from Leichhardt and Stanmore enjoy an afternoon at Petersham Park. Photo: Lauren O'Connor

Posted by & filed under Featured Inner West Independent, Inner West Independent.

by Mariana Podesta-Diverio

Local politicians and community members came together last Sunday to attend an action picnic hosted by the Save Petersham Park group protesting against UrbanGrowth’s high-rise development plans.

More than 400 submissions were written on the day to Planning Minister Pru Goward and UrbanGrowth, protesting the planned high-rise development in the area surrounding Petersham Park.

Leichhardt mayor Rochelle Porteous said the Leichhardt municipality is the fourth most densely populated area in Australia and that it would encroach on the llives of the locals.

“In terms of our community’s needs, we need more green space than we have, so to put more pressure on the open space that we have by increasing the density makes it even more difficult for the local population.” Clr Porteous said.

The Leichhardt mayor also said that efforts have been made to ensure that the community knows as little as possible about what ‘the real agenda’ of UrbanGrowth is.

“All of this is totally unacceptable but totally indicative of the way this Government thinks is acceptable behaviour to local communities.” Clr Porteous said.

When asked about UrbanGrowth’s plans, Greens candidate for Summer Hill Max Phillips said that he had not been given information.

“We don’t know what it is… It’s outrageous that they are failing to consult with the community and really give us any detailed plans.” Mr Phillips said.

Mr Phillips said he has concerns about the stress the high density development would place on local infrastructure.

“… Just building a new motorway doesn’t provide the kind of infrastructure and services you’d need with that kind of development and the local roads, he schools, the parks, childcare, the services just will not be able to cope with what they’ve got slated.” Mr Phillips said.

Local resident Michelle Connelly said that when she and her husband found out there was a potential threat to the park they were surprised and shocked.

“There would be a higher influx of cars [and] traffic would be the trouble,” Ms Connely said. “It would be a bit of an eyesore I think. I thought it would be protected. This [park] has history here.”

The Save Petersham Park group has also been involved in protesting against Sydney’s infamous Westconnex.

Labor Candidate for Newtown Penny Sharpe said that Labor’s plan for infrastructure, including Westconnex, will come out before the election.

“Westconnex is a range of different projects – it’s not a simple answer to just say ‘does Labor support WestConnex, yer or no.’ Labor’s infrastructure is coming very soon, well before the election.” Ms Sharpe said.

Ms Sharpe said that she had already made clear her own personal view on Westconnex.

“My position on Westconnex is very clear, I outlined it in parliament and in the paper last year,” said Ms Sharpe. “It’s basically tunnels to a traffic jam that will do nothing to solve what they say it’s going to solve. So that’s my position. [Other ministers] are well aware of my position.”