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Part of the 300 strong crowd that attended the rally at Bellerive Beach Park listening to the speakers

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Alderman Richard James addressing the crowd of about 300 people at Bellerive Park today.

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Almost 300 angry residents and friends of Bellerive Beach Park gathered at Bellerive Park today to protest the further encroachment onto the children’s playground by Cricket Tasmania, which is proposing to develop a new entrance/exit via the park. 

Local resident, Narelle Watson said this is the fourth time that Cricket Tasmania wants to take a ‘bite’ of the park, to the detriment of the amenity of the area.  “This bite directly threatens the area with the best amenity - the children’s playground - the corner of the park that has been valued by locals and visitors for generations,” Ms Watson said.

“Clarence City Council invited the public to have a say about the development of Bellerive Park but failed to disclose all the facts. Council omitted to make it clear to the ratepayers that, to accommodate the request by Cricket Tasmania to have a new entrance/exit via the park, two thirds of the park would have to be raised by 2 - 4 metres, creating a series of embankments that will start south of the current bike path from the edge of the car park,” she said.

The proposed development would mean that:

• 40 trees would have to be removed to accommodate the tonnes of fill needed to create the proposed raised levels;

• The grassy embankments would make park access more difficult for parents and grandparents with prams and young children and people with disabilities;

• The park will no longer be suitable for playing ball games which are popular, because the balls will roll off the smaller playing surface down the embankments, and flying balls may damage parked vehicles nearby. This directly affects the Cottage School students active play area;

• By raising the level of the park and cutting down so many trees to accommodate the fill required, the park will be more exposed to the prevailing winds, making the area less amenable;

• The trees that provide food and shelter for birds and grazing shore animals would be destroyed;

• Patrons of the oval who leave intoxicated will have direct access to a children’s playground which is most undesirable.  Intoxicated patrons already cause concerns for residents; and

• Placing the play equipment closer to the car park creates additional safety risks for the children and vehicle owners.

Ms Watson said the local residents encourage Cricket Tasmania to look at other options and consider redeveloping current entrances, or developing accesses that will have less impact on users of the park.                                                                               

“Councils are there to represent all members of the community and land use decisions must be made on the basis of the fundamental land use requirements and benefits for the whole community, not just a privileged few,” she said.  “This play area is used by the residents every day, while oval patrons would need it maybe twice a year.”

“The draft master plan totally ignores the request by the community to provide a wildlife corridor for the animals that inhabit the foreshore and are enjoyed by local people.  Instead, it proposes to concrete 10% of the park when the community wish is to retain as much natural and soft surfaces as practicable and a screen of trees between the park and the oval,” Ms Watson said.

“Community consultation on behalf of the Council has, to date, been tokenism at best.  There has been insufficient detail given to the ratepayers to be truly informed of the real impact of this development,” she said.

Alderman Richard James of Clarence City Council said this is a case of encroachment on to the park and the proposed re-levelling divides the park in such a way that it will limit the playing area that is now available to the children.  “The proposed parking off Beach Street is an incursion on Council land and the act of allowing this will set a precedent on other Council lands that are currently green spaces.”

Local resident, Joanne Marsh, said we must preserve our last remaining green corridor.  “The proposed myriad of concrete pathways will destroy the essential character of this park and the blatant concealment of the 40 metre-wide oval entrance on the plan posted out to the public by failing to label it, beggars belief!”

Rally participants had the opportunity to ask questions and raise their concerns with the Clarence City Council Aldermen in attendance.