Residents oppose pocket park plan

LISMORE residents voiced their opposition to a plan by council to reclassify and sell up to 19 "pocket parks".

Most of the parcels of land are residual blocks from residential developments that have been left as vacant recreation space.

Lismore Council says they are costing too much to maintain and is hoping to sell them for new residential lots, or to adjoining neighbours, or to a group of residents to maintain them as recreational spaces.

Individuals or groups spoke about four of the parks, imploring council to keep them as is.

Glen Maxwell said the park on Neilson St (known by the locals as "the Big Back") did not even fit council's selection criteria for reclassifying the parks which include size, slope and accessibility.

He said all the surrounding neighbours had an access gate and that the park was used by local kids on a daily basis.

"There is no mention (in council's report) of the swing set, of the football goals, of the vegie patch, of the cricket pitch and no mention of the Christmas parties held there," Mr Maxwell said.

A group of neighbours from Barham St in East Lismore argued that their park had been there for 90 years and had become part of the "urban heritage" of the area and part of the lifestyle that attracted people to the street in the first place.

"Once these parks are lost, council is never going to get them back. It's something that should be retained for future generations," Peter Phillips said.

Council's strategic property project manager Lindsay Walker said written submissions have been received for "13 or 14" of the parks which would be given equal consideration to the oral presentations.

A report on the community feedback will be prepared for councillors who will make a determination on whether any park will be reclassified in the next month or so.



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