From left, Michael Waterhouse, Vivienne Skinner, Jason Downing
Our inaugural President Michael Waterhouse signed off on Newsletter #30. This newsletter (#31) gives me and Vivienne Skinner the opportunity to introduce ourselves as the new co-presidents of Saving Moore Park.
Importantly, it is also an opportunity to express our sincerest thanks to Michael, as well as those of the community, for the enormous amount of hard work he has done since forming the organisation seven years ago.
Michael’s contribution was recently acknowledged in the Legislative Assembly of the NSW Parliament in a Community Recognition Statement by the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich MP.
I pay tribute to the outstanding community contribution of Michael Waterhouse who steps down as President of Saving Moore Park, a community group he founded to advocate for the park's protection and enhancement. His passionate dedication and cooperative approach earned him trust and respect across the political spectrum. He was instrumental in successful campaigns to legislate a date to remove parked cars and stop plans to build stadia on Moore Park, and has developed a community vision for the park. I thank Michael for his untiring work and wish him well for his future.
It is no exaggeration to say that without his tireless and practical advocacy, Moore Park today would be in a much poorer state. At various times, he has led the charge against proposals such as building a new stadium over the top of Kippax Lake, building a car park under Moore Park West, carving off bits and pieces for transport infrastructure and building a large electricity sub-station on the sporting fields in Moore Park East.
Michael’s dedication to the cause and refusal to be placated by spin has, at times, led to discomfort on the part of responsible ministers and public officials charged with responsibility for the park, and the sporting codes who use it. Notwithstanding that, Michael has always maintained positive working relationships with and the respect of those he has dealt with.
While there were many players involved in achieving the legislative victory that will see cars completely removed from Moore Park by the end of 2025, it is no exaggeration to say that Michael was at the very front of that charge.
We can only hope to build on his endeavours and achieve as much as he has.
Introducing Jason Downing and Vivienne Skinner
Vivienne and I are both local residents and frequent users of Moore Park (and its slightly more glamorous and well-known neighbour, Centennial Park). I have lived in and around Moore Park for more than 20 years. In that time, I’ve played tennis on it, attended (a lot of) children’s sport on it, cycled on it, picnicked on it, walked my dogs on it and played the odd round of golf on it. I’m keenly aware of how valuable it is to have usable green space in what is a densely populated part of inner Sydney. I’m keen to ensure it is preserved and enhanced in the future.
Vivienne has also lived near Moore Park for 20-plus years. For six years she was a member and Chair of the Centennial and Moore Park Community Consultative Committee and sat as a trustee on the Centennial and Moore Park Trust. She has been Vice-President of Saving Moore Park for the last few years, working alongside Michael and the rest of the small SMP committee to build relationships with our neighbours and supporters, as well as stakeholders and state government ministers. She was a member of the government-appointed Community Consultative Committee for the rebuilding of the Sydney Football Stadium, and played an active (and often unpopular) role in pressing the stadium administrators and sporting codes to find parking alternatives to the convenient default position of the Moore Park grasslands.
On Grass Parking – Update
As we have set out in earlier newsletters, the passage of the Greater Sydney Parkland Trust Act in 2022 has (happily) given legislative effect to the government policy of progressively phasing out parking on the grass in Moore Park East. Parking has already permanently ceased on Upper Kippax (aka EP1), next to Moore Park Rd. Parking will next cease on Lower Kippax (EP2) at the end of 2023 and on the field across Driver Ave from the Hordern Pavilion (EP 3) at the end of 2025.
The successful passage of that piece of legislation has been a giant win for the community. It means that Greater Sydney Parklands (GSP), with the financial support of the NSW Government, can now improve the grassed areas and build permanent community facilities – something that was impossible as long as the grasslands became a parking lot for roughly 60 days each year.
The great news is that from now on, when a crowd size is projected to be less than 10,000 patrons, NO cars will be permitted on Moore Park. When the crowd is expected to be between 10,000 and 25,000, cars will be only be allowed on the field across from the Hordern Pavilion. It will only be when crowds are likely to exceed 25,000, that both the area across from the Hordern and around Kippax Lake will be allowed.
To put the above figures in practical terms, for Sydney Roosters games in the NRL season 2022, the average crowd for home games (which were mainly played at the SCG before Allianz Stadium reopened at the end of August) was 17,705. For Waratahs home games, all of which were played away from Allianz Stadium in 2022, the average crowd was approximately 10,700. For Sydney FC, which has returned to Allianz Stadium for A-League season 2022-23, average crowd size to date is approximately 18,850 (though with large variations depending on the opposition).
Allowing for some likely increases in crowd size now sporting tenants have returned to Allianz Stadium and can start bedding down plans to build membership (and a bit of ‘if you build it, they will come’), for the vast majority of sporting events at the precinct, only the field in front of Hordern will be used for parking. It is hoped that each sporting code will make supporters aware that parking is available at a number of alternative sites close to the SCG. They include the multi-storey EQ car park, Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls High Schools (a great money earner for the schools) and at Randwick Racecourse (where patrons travel only one tram stop to Moore Park). Parking at the racecourse has the advantage of a quick get-away at the conclusion of games. It avoids the worst of the traffic around the SCG and Allianz Stadium.
We were delighted just before Christmas when the State Government announced that integrated ticketing is finally a reality. This means when patrons buy their ticket to the SCG or Allianz for sporting and non-sporting events, their ticket will include (free) public transport. This is a development worth celebrating and we congratulate the NSW Ministers for Sport and Transport for making it happen.
Although some sporting organisations have been slow to embrace the idea of integrated ticketing, early feedback shows there has been good take-up by patrons. We are optimistic that as the codes do more to publicise the ease and convenience of integrated ticketing, more patrons will recognise its benefits, with a decline in cars seeking to drive onto Moore Park.
Landscape Plan for Moore Park East – Update
The Greater Sydney Parklands has now completed its community consultation for the Landscape Plan for Moore Park East. We expect it will shortly publish a summary of the feedback, before releasing the Landscape Plan itself, and a Delivery Plan.
We had hoped the Landscape Plan would be available before the end of 2022. We understand it is still awaiting ministerial approval. We look forward to seeing what is planned for Moore Park East and how the Plan sits against our own proposal for what the area might become.
So far, the current NSW Government has committed only $2 million to implement the Landscape Plan. At SMP, we are only too aware how much money is required to bring parklands up to an acceptable standard. Given Moore Park has had a varied history, including as a military training field during several wars, and more recently as a carpark, the cost of rehabilitating the grasslands will be considerable. As anyone walking across the park will know, rubble pokes through the surface and in some areas is heavily compacted from car tyres. Given that the initial $2 million allocation will presumably include the cost of the consultation process, the remaining funds will not go far.
That’s why we will be asking both the NSW Government and Opposition to commit to a three-year $12 million funding plan at the upcoming March election for the revitalisation of Moore Park. We will publish their responses.
Let’s not forget, the NSW Government found close to $1 billion for a new stadium right on the doorstep of Moore Park.
Finally…we need you!!
At last count, Saving Moore Park had around 4000 supporters. You are all people who use the park, love it, and hope to see it vastly improved. To achieve that, we need your help. Please send us any photos you may have taken in and around the park. They can be as spectacular or as ‘everyday’ as you like. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org Whenever possible, we will upload them to Instagram @savingmoorepark and Twitter @SavingMoorePark Oh, and please follow us on those accounts.
Importantly, if you have concerns about the park, please let us know. And if you have ideas about how we can better advocate for our park, again, be in touch, either via email@example.com or Twitter.
Jason Downing and Vivienne Skinner
Saving Moore Park