How RTA plan will affect the park
On current information, the image below shows the impact on the park.
It was only by co-incidence the Grevillea Park learnt of a secret RTA plan that would severely impact the Park. After contacting the RTA on Wednesday the 24th August 2005 about this, the Illawarra Mercury published details about the plan the next day. Since the Park had not contacted the Mercury at this stage it is can only be deduced that the RTA went into damage control and decided it had better publish to fulfil some notion of accountability. The following week the Northern Leader ran an article on the matter in its September the 1st 2005 edition and the image below is taken from that article.
The Illawarra Grevillea Park is a community organisation, started in 1987 and officially opened in 1993. During this time the possibility that an extension to the Northern Distributor would entail the loss of the front section has always been known. Notwithstanding this issue, the Park has rehabilitated the area and opened it up to community use (and indemnified the RTA), providing convenience to motorists as well as community members, at no expense to the RTA. Of course this has not been without expense to the Park.
The community has only now become aware of the secret plan to put a new road and interchange through the Park land leased from Wollongong City Council. Such RTA plans were also not known to Multiplex nor the Village Company, as they were not exhibited at their open days of community consultation earlier this year. At those exhibitions I raised questions as to what they knew of the RTA's plans and was simply given the information that the road was to go through the area in the widely known and publicised plan that shows the extension to the northern distributor through the front section we maintain for the RTA.
If there is a need for the road as an alternative to the present route then it is extraordinary that with two vacant lots on either side of the park (the mine site to the north and the brickworks to the south), that these are not being considered as alternatives, not to mention the current access to the elbow of Bulli Pass.
It is most heartening that ward representatives David Martin and Alice Cartan want a full investigation of all possibilities and would like to see the Park maintained. A similar situation exists for the planning officers at Wollongong City Council. It is hoped that the true needs of the community and the adoption of Greenplan aims will be taken into account when decisions are made. With close to $8 million invested in the park it would be nice to see community debate before the RTA draws a few lines on a map which will result in the permanent loss of what up to now has been a nationally renowned Australian asset.
Also, with rising petrol prices and road traffic problems, perhaps it is time that the State government looked at an overall transport policy involving public transport instead of supporting an all powerful RTA oblivious to community concerns and problems.