Saving Moore Park Inc. – Report to 1st Annual General Meeting
Saving Moore Park was incorporated in December 2015 to contest a proposal by the Minister for Sport and the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust to build a stadium in Moore Park.
Our strategy was to build a supporter base as quickly as possible, so as to establish our credibility as an organisation representing the broader community. Time did not permit us the luxury of gradually building a membership base nor a bank balance comprising many small annual fees and donations. A small number of residents adjoining Moore Park therefore contributed $500 or similar amounts to give us the financial capacity to mount an effective opposition.
By the end of January, we had a website up and running, inviting people to register as supporters. Not long after we had a Facebook page, and then twitter. On behalf of the Committee I’d like to thank Derek Waterhouse for his fine work in establishing our website, and for keeping it current. I’d also like to thank Paul Reynolds and Vivienne Skinner for their efforts with Facebook and Twitter respectively.
Owing to their remarkable efforts, we acquired more than 2,500 supporters in less than three months, by the middle of April 2016, when the Premier announced that a new stadium would not be built at Moore Park. I believe this substantial supporter base and our carefully focused lobbying efforts made people in Government aware that that the community was strongly opposed to the stadium plans, and so contributed to the eventual outcome. We were by no means the only opposition voice, but we played an important role.
It would be useful to describe briefly the approach Saving Moore Park Inc. has taken in trying to secure desirable outcomes for the community. First, what we don’t do. We do not organise demonstrations, though where appropriate we will publicise those organised by others through our Facebook page and Twitter.
Our preferred approach is to work quietly and constructively with decision-makers to achieve desired outcomes or simply to clarify misunderstandings. We don’t hesitate to oppose, though not always publicly, and when we do oppose (or propose) something, we rely solely on facts and reasoned arguments. In our view, confrontation is usually counter-productive, and so we avoid emotion and do not “play the man”.
It soon became obvious that our strong supporter base helped open doors among decision makers. We have had constructive meetings with successive Ministers for the Environment, and have good working relationships with the Executive Director of the Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust, Kim Ellis, as well as with senior people in Transport for NSW and RMS.
Our credibility is also well established amongst leaders who are natural supporters of the policy positions we espouse. The latter include the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.
In more recent times, the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust has made it clear – for the first time – that it wishes to work more closely with the community. We welcome this. In the latter part of 2016, it established a Trust Advisory Group, on which there are a number of community representatives. I represent Saving Moore Park Inc. on this Group.
I hope that this Group will become a vehicle for open and constructive discussions between the Trust and the community on a range of matters, particularly as they affect Moore Park. At a recent meeting, a senior representative of the SCG Trust made it clear that any development proposals will be confined to the land controlled by the Trust. We welcome this commitment.
Since the Government’s decision last April not to proceed with a new stadium at Moore Park, we’ve dealt with a number of issues, including a proposal to construct a large electricity sub-station for the light rail at the southern end of the park. Working with Robertson Road residents, we successfully negotiated with Transport for NSW for the sub-station to be constructed on little used land adjacent to the Moore Park golf course depot, well away from residential areas and not on parkland used by the community.
The removal of the Anzac Parade obelisk to Moore Park East is something we strongly supported, as it provides an opportunity for the community to reflect on the sacrifices of Australian servicemen in various wars over the past century. On Anzac Day we held a Dawn Service at the obelisk to mark its centenary, and we hope to repeat this next year.
History tells us that Moore Park will continue to remain under pressure in the years ahead. Over the past 150 years, one quarter of the original park has been excised for other uses. Rapid population growth, particularly on the western side of the Park over the next decade, means the need for green space is becoming ever more critical.
These considerations provide a backdrop to submissions we have made regarding the Moore Park Master Plan, as well as discussions we‘ve had and will continue to have about how Moore Park should best meet the community’s needs. A high priority is the removal of car parking from Moore Park East. We welcome the support for this from the Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust, which will eventually see these areas of the Park remediated and available for community use.
We also look to the removal of the many barriers to community access that exist across the park, and particularly on the eastern side of Anzac parade.
Since April 2016, our supporter numbers have continued to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace. We now have an estimated 3,100 supporters across our three social media platforms. This support is gratifying and in consequence I believe we are now well placed in the years ahead to represent the community in advocating the preservation and sympathetic development of Moore Park for the benefit of future generations.
Saving Moore Park Inc.