Here's a copy of the Notice of Motion I submitted today with Councilor Connell.
NOTICE OF MOTION: CONSULTATION REGARDING EMPIRE PARK
COUNCILLOR: M OSBORNE, S CONNELL
That Council convene a sunset working group with representatives from the Protect Empire Park group, the Skating Working party, Empire Park user groups, local residents, councillors and appropriate council staff to discuss the plan for the skate park facility and guide its design and implementation to ensure issues are addressed such as safety, protection from vandalism, appearance, family friendliness, ongoing maintenance funding and advocacy for public transport to the area.
That Council receive a report on the consultation processes undertaken for the federal government's Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program projects in Newcastle, and ways that the consultation processes can be improved.
There is major concern in the community that there has been a lack of meaningful community consultation with the Empire Park user community and neighbours in relation to the proposed district level skate park in Empire Park.
Part of the concern has arisen from the deadlines imposed by the federal government's Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program as part of the financial stimulus package. The local Federal MP has stated that the concerns raised by local residents and Park users are genuinely held and are deserving careful consideration by Council (see attached letter).
Empire Park is used by a wide range of groups in the community including teams from junior and senior Rugby Union, Rugby League, Australian Rules, Touch Football, Soccer, Bar Beach Bowling Club, Merewether District Cricket Club, Merewether Carlton Rugby Club, Cooks Hill Surf Club and members and visiting players at the Reid Park and Empire Park Tennis Clubs. Local residents and residents from across Newcastle use the park for family and social cricket, relaxation and dog walking.
This motion sets up a process of meaningful community consultation to ensure Empire Park remains a safe, family-friendly and inclusive park for all users and neighbours of Empire Park.