Submission to Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust on
“The 7 Big Ideas”
This submission is made on behalf of Saving Moore Park Inc., an association established recently with the intention of saving Moore Park from the appropriation of parkland by Government and its agencies and the unsympathetic use of the Park on a temporary or permanent basis.
Whilst our comments will address each of the 7 ideas, we do not address every challenge and opportunity identified in the document. Several of our members will raise specific issues of concern directly with you.
We note the Trust’s view that an estimated 50,000 new residents will move into nearby suburbs over the next decade or so. Recent estimates suggest this may significantly under-estimate the increase in population density. An additional 60,000 people in Green Square and 30,000 in Waterloo can only increase the challenges and the need for an imaginative response.
Big Idea 01 – Uniting the park through tree lined urban boulevards
We very much agree that efforts should be made to unite the six precincts as one parkland. We’d go a step further and suggest that Federation Way should be promoted as a boulevard linking Centennial and Moore Parks, so that people using the one will see the other as a natural extension of their experience.
We would never have endorsed the alienation of a large slice of Moore Park for construction of the Tibby Cotter Walkway. However, now that it’s there, the Trust needs to assess how best to integrate it within its Master Plan.
We suggest that trees be planted alongside the Walkway – in part to mask the hard edges of the structure but also to underline its role in linking Moore Park East and West. In time, these trees will also provide shade to those using the walkway. A corollary is that shared paths progressing from the direction of Centennial Park should be linked to the Walkway, encouraging cyclists and pedestrians to use it.
Big idea 02 – Creating a green destination for health and well being
Healthy Park Healthy People Central, started by Parks Victoria in 2000, has pointed to the “numerous health benefits associated with access to public open space and parks. Access to vegetated areas such as parks, open spaces, and playgrounds has been associated with better perceived general health, reduced stress levels, reduced depression and more”.
With the projected growth in urban density in suburbs close to Moore Park, our Association believes that the Trust should make it a high priority to upgrade all areas of the park used by residents for passive and active recreation. Specifically:
(a) Event parking should cease in Upper Kippax field in Moore Park East, the area should be remediated and become a village green used by local and school sporting teams and the local community. With the planting of trees on the south side, the field will in time be ringed with mature trees, providing a delightful respite from increasingly close urban living. Various other improvements should be made:
a playground should be constructed under the trees on the eastern side,
barbeques should be constructed in the same area, and
a modern toilet block should replace the old brick one on the western side.
(b) We do not support the idea of a children’s playground next to Kippax Lake (06/02):
Children and water do not mix. To ensure the safety of wandering children, the playground would have to be fenced. Playgrounds shouldn’t and needn’t be fenced. The one near Trust’s administration building in Centennial Park is a case in point. We strongly favour fewer fences in Moore Park, not more.
Kippax Lake is a place for solitude and quiet picnics. A children’s playground is incompatible with this ambience.
It is also inconsistent with enhancing wildlife habitat opportunities. (03/04)
(c) With the closure of Moore Park East to parking, we would like to see a tree- lined boulevard linking the barbeque and playground area (under the trees near the beginning of Driver Avenue) with the trees around Kippax Lake. (04/02) Such a boulevard would further enhance wildlife habitat opportunities.
(d) The projected increase in population density in Waterloo and Green Square, and the growing use of equipment such as Fitbits, underline just how important the need is for new and enhanced walking trails (02/03), exercise stations (02/04), a continuous shared path network (02/05) and wider pedestrian paths around the outside of Moore Park Golf Course (02/06).
(e) For similar reasons, we would also like to see fitness activities at EQ such as indoor rock climbing and trampolining and less strenuous activities such as mini-golf. Such attractions would be a magnet for young people in the growth suburbs to the west of the Park, with bicycle access from that area being facilitated by improved shared paths.
(f) With the construction of an effective shared path network throughout Moore Park, and the removal of many existing fences, bicycle hire would become a viable attraction.
Big Idea 03 – Valuing our heritage and protecting our environment
Kippax Lake is a valuable environmental microcosm, but one which is poorly understood, and largely under-appreciated.
We note that the City of Sydney’s Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan, 2014 (page 103) suggests various actions, including the planting of sedges and grasses, the replacement of the three existing peppercorns with melaleucas and action to improve water quality. We support these suggestions.
The fringes of Kippax Lake are frequently scarred by litter and debris, much of it arriving through the storm water channels together with chemical pollutants. To preserve and enhance wildlife habitat opportunities (03/04), we would like to see the Trust systematically improve the lake’s water quality by installing (and maintaining) a gross pollutant trap to ensure that water quality is consistent with what one would expect of a lake with such heritage and environmental importance.
Following an approach by a member of our association seeking suggestions as to how Kippax Lake might be improved, Storm Consulting has made a number of suggestions. We believe these are worthy of consideration:
Lake Naturalisation – breaking up the hard edges of the lake to achieve a more natural appearance
Construction of an island and reedbeds to provide a habitat for bird life remote from where humans access the water’s edge
The planting of dense species-specific vegetation on the western side
Installation of a gross pollutant trap to prevent debris and sediment entering the lake
Action to mitigate the effects of dissolved pollutants – nutrients, heavy metals and pathogens – including the installation of reedbeds, the use of fountains to oxygenate the water and improve its circulation and the use of circulation pumps, driven in part by solar power.
People appreciate something best when they understand it. We therefore support any moves to install interpretation plaques covering both heritage and environmental features. (03/03 and 03/05)
Big Idea 04 Linking the parkland
The issue of increasing access points along Moore Park’s boundaries is one that recurs often: see 07/03, the 2nd challenge in 02, 03/02, 04/03, 04/03, etc. Implicit is that the lack of access points restricts the extent to which, and the way, people use Moore Park.
We support in principle the removal of access barriers:
The fence around the perimeter of the training field opposite the SCG acts as a major visual and physical barrier, impeding the free movement of people around Moore Park. This is a classic example of how the interests of elite sportsmen have been put ahead of the broader community. The Roosters/ Waratahs training ground works well without a hard fence to keep people off. The Swans training ground should be no different.
As the Tibby Cotter Walkway now provides an additional way of crossing Anzac Parade, the Trust should explore the scope to remove the fences lining either side of the bus lane running parallel with Anzac Parade. Buses are no more dangerous than cars for people using the park, and no-one has seen the need to fence off Moore Park West from cars (and buses) using Anzac Parade.
Big Idea 05 Re-thinking transport and access
“Temporary event parking on the grassland at Moore Park East conflicts with the pedestrian exit flow from the SCG and Allianz Stadium after events and diminishes the quality and use of the parkland.” (05)
We couldn’t put it better ourselves. But in the absence of a commitment to cease parking here, it remains the “easy option”. The Trust should set a date by which it intends ceasing to allow parking on Moore Park East in the context of a framework to pursue the transport opportunities identified in Idea 05 and the remediation opportunities in 02. Our association believes this should be 31 December 2017.
The options identified in Idea 05 makes it clear that ultimately the resolution of the issues of traffic congestion and parking will necessarily involve several stakeholders, and we would hope that having a deadline will concentrate their minds. Two years should be adequate for this.
Big Idea 06 A place for all to play
The growing population density pressures mentioned earlier highlight the urgency of this issue. Any playing fields in Moore Park devoted solely to use for training by high performance sportsmen (and women) can only be at the expense of the community. There are two issues:
access to the fields when not in use by the sports concerned, and
access to playing fields generally by local and school sports for training and competition
On the former, it should be a basic principle that the community should have access to any playing fields used by elite sports at all times they are not in use.
To maximize the availability of fields for use by community sporting teams, we support any decisions the Trust may make to upgrade venues such as the ES Marks Athletics Field and the EQ Show Ring so as to enable elite training facilities to be transferred there.
Big Idea 07 Securing the Future
We note that Moore Park generates 80% of the revenue required to maintain Centennial, Queens and Moore Park. Much of this revenue is doubtless generated by the EQ and Moore Park golf course. Nevertheless, it’s evident that there is considerable tension between revenue generation and the enhancement of Moore Park for community use. Nowhere is this clearer than the use of Moore Park East for parking on event days.
If the Trust is serious about enhancing Moore Park, and specifically Moore Park East, to meet the community’s future needs, then as a matter of principle it must look to alternative revenue sources.
It borders on the bizarre that the Government is considering spending $600 million on reconstructing Allianz Stadium – which is manifestly adequate for its purpose – but has no plans to spend anything on Moore Park – or for that matter Centennial Park – which is used annually by a far greater number of people than will ever use the new Stadium. This is an issue our association proposes to take up directly with the Government, but we hope the Trust will also explore this with the Minister.
In 02/07, it is suggested that cultural festivals might be held close to Kippax Lake. This is a curious and alarming idea as the noise and movement of people would be fundamentally inconsistent with preserving and enhancing the wildlife habitat there. It would be of concern if this implies a return of Parklife music festivals to Moore Park East. With the growth in population density in Waterloo and Green Square, the logical place for such festivals is Moore Park West and the natural amphitheatre at Mt Steel.
Nowhere in the Big Ideas document is the Bandstand in Moore Park West mentioned. While it was rebuilt some years ago at considerable expense, the Trust has never succeeded in leasing the coffee shop underneath. There is nothing to attract people to this end of the Park – least of all the playground.
We suggest the Trust should give careful consideration to making this end of the Park more attractive so that a coffee shop associated with the Bandstand becomes a hub for community activity during the day, with the potential to hold small scale concerts at night in summer, where people bring their own blankets – a bit like Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park. One option that might be explored is installing slides and other kids-friendly activities such as those at Sydney Park. Create the environment, more people will come and the coffee shop will become viable.
Saving Moore Park Inc.