Sydney Water decides to put Caloola Rd Reserve sale on hold after community protests – NPRAG assist residents in Constitution Hill

PUBLIC land at Constitution Hill has been saved — for now.

Sydney Water had planned to sell the historical piece of land at Caloola Road Reserve for low-density residential development.

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Constitution Hill Residents meet with Mayor Paul Garrard, Clr Julia Finn, Shadow Minister Water Mick Veitch, National Trusts Brian Powyer and NPRAG President Suzette Meade at Caloola Road Reserve. Notable resident former NSW Premier Nathan Rees also attended.

But last week it announced it would put the sale on hold while it explored further options for the site, sparking a sigh of relief among the community.

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Parramatta Clr Julia Finn and Shadow Minister Water & Lands MP Mick Veitch stand where irish convicts did over 200 years ago looking into Parramatta from Constitution Hill

“Not only is this historically significant park important to Australians but to the Irish in our nations colonial beginnings,” Ms Meade said.

“With our society leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles, open parkland and green space is vital, not only for physical but mental health of the community — once its gone its gone.”

Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard said the site was of vital importance to the city and nation’s heritage.

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Mayor Calls For Inclusion – Residents Group Left Out Of Site Tour

NEW Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard has a stark message for his own council staff and for the State Government: either get on board with community consultation or get out of the way.

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North Parramatta’s Suzette Meade and Mayor Paul Garrard.

Cr Garrard is furious his attempts to allow community groups to tour the North Parramatta heritage precinct with the representatives of the government’s development arm UrbanGrowth NSW are being thwarted.

The State Government plans to put 4000 apartments in the area, which includes the convict-era female factory, which is being assessed for world heritage listing.

On July 27, Parramatta Council passed a motion requesting UrbanGrowth organise a study tour of the site including councillors, relevant staff members and selected members of concerned communities.

The date proposed for the tour was September 19, but two days earlier, UrbanGrowth cancelled the tour until “we receive feedback from the Minister for Planning’s office on final components for the rezoning of the site”.

In the same letter, UrbanGrowth restated its objection to community groups being invited, saying the tour is intended for councillors only.

North Parramatta Residents Action Group spokeswoman Suzette Meade said the response by UrbanGrowth begged the question: what have they got to hide?

“If they are committed to consultation and to creating a world-class heritage precinct, why are they excluding us?”

Cr Garrard signalled a new approach to his administration in his acceptance of the Lord Mayoral position after a vote on September 29 put him back in the top job.

Cr Garrard challenged council staff to accept that the elected representatives on council would make the decisions.

“We are going to have a more inclusive council that listens to community concerns and if you don’t like that, go somewhere else.”

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