Residents save Erskineville parks


Residents save Erskineville parks

Story and photo by Ben Cubby

SYDNEY — The protests of Erskineville residents paid off last week when the auction of a local park did not go ahead because of pressure from the Save the Parks Committee.

The controversy concerns two small blocks of land on either side of Albert Street, Erskineville, owned by the Roads and Traffic Authority, which planned to construct an estimated 28 townhouses on the two sites.

Nearby residents were angered by the destruction of some of their suburb's only greenery. The committee was formed, and spokesperson Jack Carnegie stated, "Given the time for an adequate debate, we can win this fight on its merits. The residents are determined not to let these parks be destroyed."

The building trades group of the Labour Council supported the community by issuing an interim green ban on August 6.

On the same date, the committee wrote to Premier John Fahey, asking him to intervene and withhold the parks from sale.

The Erskineville residents also organised an "auction" of Hyde Park, arguing that if some public space was to be sold, why not all the parks in Sydney.

On the night of August 13, a lively gathering took place at the Erskineville parks. Determined locals, some of whom had slept in the parks for the previous 10 days, arranged live music, food and entertainments. A petition was signed by 1500 people.

The Save the Parks Committee victory the next day when no bidders offered to buy the parks.