SAVE FITZROY GARDENS

Historic Fitzroy Gardens, the living room of Kings Cross, was saved after a big community campaign in 2010 to 2011.

A Save Fitzroy Gardens rally held on 6 November 2010 attended by over 500 people resolved that The Kings Cross community likes Fitzroy Gardens just as it is, but asks for better maintenance and garden care.

The community celebrated when Mayor Clover Moore promised that the gardens would remain intact except for minor repairs and upgrades.

Friends of Fitzroy Gardens are disappointed that the Lord Mayor broke her promise of of May 2011 to undertake "improvements to play equipment and addition of soft fall in the existing children's playground".

Council unrolled the plans for a much-enlarged playground and invited email feedback in August 2012.

Council proposed to enlarge the Fitzroy Gardens playground by nearly four times its existing size.

The planned expansion diminishes the heritage integrity of the Ilmar Berzins’ Gardens design and peaceful enjoyment of our outdoor room. Both the Garden History Society and National Trust say the Berzins-designed Gardens and the El Alamein Fountain are "at the highest level of architectural heritage significance" and are "hand in glove" modernist designs.

Should there be a need for expanded playground areas, the community should be consulted on alternative sites — like Lawrence Hargrave Reserve, or better and excellent local playgrounds in Ruschcutters Bay or Woolloomooloo.

A second set of plans in 2011 maintained a gutting of the original design but with a few compromises —  the removal of a "sonic tree trunk and marimba". There was no DA. The public had only five days to respond before a vote. Council claimed these ridiculous figures a a mandate: 125 were for it, 185 were critical of it it (most via an email feedback from where you don't need to identify your address), and 9 didn't want a park at all.

The Friends asked the Sydney Council Environment Committee to resolve:

A. Consideration of the Extended Playground Plans be deferred pending:-

(i) The exhibition of the proposed plans, Attachment A, for community consultation for a period of 28 days

(ii) Compilation of a report of the results of such community consultation

B. A report be brought back to a future Committee meeting.

The new plans were available to the public from Tuesday 30 October and very few people have been aware of them or had a chance to adequately study them.

The Fitzroy Gardens has a significant emotional attachment and great heritage significance for the Kings Cross area and it is vital that any change made be proper and have community support.

Despite the short viewing time, it was suggested that Council's heritage report contained a number of errors.

Friends called for the current proposal be placed on public exhibition for community consultation for a period of 28 days before Council proceeds with any further action including applying for a DA.

Council must honour its promise to refresh and maintain the Gardens.

Summary courtesy Paul Wagner and Jo Holder co-convenors, Friends of Fitzroy Gardens – Web is http://www.savefitzroygardens.com/

For campaign updates apply to Mandy Sayers to join the group at - http://www.facebook.com/groups/280691105379878/permalink/301914229924232/



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