Council adopted the Operational Plan on 25th June 2018 without any material changes, following submissions from the community. We did however get one WIN – an increase in the overall playgrounds budget for 2018/19 to fund the installation of more shade sails. You can read the full response from Council to ParraParents submission here.
A key way to make sure Council is delivering the services and facilities we think are needed in our community is to provide feedback on crucial Council plans. Council recently released their Three Year Delivery Program (2018-21) and Operational Plan (2018/19). And we STRONGLY encourage you provide feedback by 5pm Monday 18th June 2018 (deadline was extended from 11th June due to a small omission in the original plan). The document is 225 pages long though so not light reading! Lucky for you, we have spent time reading and summarising it here for you.
Our short summary below has five sections:
- About the 3-year Delivery Program and 1-year Operational Plan
- What We’re Excited About
- What is Missing or Concerning
- More Information Needed
- Feedback to Council
You can read our full submission here.
About City of Parramatta’s Three Year Delivery Program and Operational Plan
The document covers what Council aims to deliver over the next three years, including the budget, resources, services, actions and activities. The document has been developed in response to the draft Community Strategic Plan 2018-2038, the highest level of plan that Council prepares on behalf of the community.
In developing the Community Strategic Plan, Council asked for feedback on where they should be focusing their resources over the next three years. What the community said was:
- Advocating for better public transport.
- Providing plenty of green and open spaces.
- Ensuring our City and suburbs are well planned and designed.
- Delivering well-maintained public infrastructure.
- Addressing traffic congestion.
- Providing community facilities and spaces for people to get together.
Long Term Community Goals
What We’re Excited About
There is a LOT Council is planning to do over the next one to three years. But there is no way to tell whether it is all feasible from the plan. It is however telling that a number of things have been rolled over from previous years.
Here are eight things that we are particularly excited about and think you will be too.
Our First Inclusive, All Abilities Playground
Council has spoken for some time about building City of Parramatta’s first inclusive, all abilities playground. We are very excited to see 800k budgeted for this to take place at Ollie Webb Reserve, in partnership with Touched By Olivia. Fingers crossed it will actually happen this coming financial year. (see page 67 & 86)
We are also hoping that the 15+ playground upgrades as part of the Stronger Communities Funding (NSW Gov’t), rolled over from last year, get finished next financial year. (see pg 86-87)
New Water Playground
We are very excited that Council is planning to build its third water playground (well technically fourth seeing the one at Granville Park in Merrylands, now owned by Cumberland Council, was built by Parramatta Council). But very disappointed that it will be built just a few minutes down the road from the one at James Ruse Reserve. It will bring the total of water playgrounds in the Rosehill Ward to two, which is definitely an uneven and unfair distribution of water playgrounds in the City of Parramatta. Considering there is already one in the east and central part of the Parramatta Council area, it would have made much more sense and been a LOT fairer to have built the next water playground in the western part of City of Parramatta, like around the Toongabbie area. (see pg 86)
Toilets at Halvorsen Park
There are some lovely places to enjoy Parramatta River and the parks along it. Unfortunately, there aren’t many toilets which makes outings along parts of the river somewhat shorter. We are therefore SUPER excited to see Council will be building a toilet block at Halvorsen Park. This is something we have been asking for a while! Halvorsen Park in Ermington opened in late 2016. It is home to the successful Market by the River, which has been operating for 18 months. Plus, has a great playground. But sadly there are no permanent toilets for the hundreds of market goers, cyclists, walkers or families visiting the playground each month. (see pg 86)
New Library and Community Centre at Wentworth Point
Residents of Wentworth Point have been promised a lot of vital infrastructure for some time now. Hopefully the new library and community centre will actually be completed next financial year. (see pg 53 & 145)
Youth Precinct at Sue Savage Park
It is pleasing to see that significant funds have been allocated to implement stage 2 of the Sue Savage and Reynolds Parks Masterplan, particularly the addition of toilets and a much-needed youth precinct. (pg 120)
Looking into Providing Out of School Hours Care
Council will be completing a feasibility study into providing Out of School Hours care (OOSH) for school-aged students during the school term. We are aware that it can be difficult to find OOSH at some schools and in some parts of the Parramatta area, so expect this is welcome news for a lot of parents.
City River Program of Works
Parramatta River holds significant environmental, cultural and recreational value. We are therefore very pleased to see this has been acknowledged in the Community Strategic Plan and that there is a City River Program of Works commencing in 2018/19 to deliver on this. In the first year of the program, work will commence on the Stewart Street Link and Escarpment Boardwalk. (see pg 145)
Program of Town Centre Shop Upgrades
There is a program of town centre shop upgrades planned for next financial year, with over 10 to receive work. Hopefully these will improve safety and make these small shops nicer places to visit. (see page 120)
What is Missing or Concerning
What is not included is sometimes just as important as what is included. And there are some key things missing from the operational plan and budget. Here are seven key ones that we have identified and call on Council to incorporate into the Operational Plan and Delivery Program.
No Capital Works for Dence Park (including Epping Aquatic Centre)
There is only a small budget allocation for the development of the Dence Park Master Plan and no funding for any capital works, that we can tell, for Epping Aquatic Centre. This is very concerning, particularly considering a recent Council survey (completed by 600+ residents) showed strong demand for a number of improvements to City of Parramatta Council’s only swimming pool.
No Funding for Installation of Shade Sails at Playgrounds
It is important that we get the balance right between shade and warmth at our playgrounds. And that children are able to play safely outdoors throughout the warmer months in Parramatta, away from the hot sun. Currently though only about 14% of playgrounds in the City of Parramatta have shade sails. Now in a lot of cases mature trees can provide adequate shade at playgrounds and also provide a range of other benefits. There are however a number of playgrounds without any adequate shade, from trees or shade sails. And are fully exposed in the warmer months, making them unused for large chunks of the year. While we understand Council is currently reviewing the provision of shade at its roughly 150 playgrounds, there is no funding allocated to install shade sails at playgrounds once the findings of the investigation are completed.
A recent poll conducted in the Parramatta District Mums Facebook group found that the top four playgrounds mums wanted shade sails installed are were:
- Parramatta River Foreshore Reserve in Parramatta
- Silverwater Park in Silverwater
- McCoy Park in Toongabbie
- River Park in Ermington
Another Water Playground in Rosehill Ward
The number 1 long term community goal is FAIRNESS. And yet Council is about to build it’s 2nd water playground in the Rosehill Ward, when three other wards have no water playground. Water playgrounds are VERY popular community facilities and we strongly believe it would be much better and fairer to build the new water playground in the Parramatta ward, like around Toongabbie. This would significantly give access to water playground to residents in the western part of the City of Parramatta.
Further Upgrade (649k) of Amenities at Boronia Park
Boronia Park received an extensive upgrade in 2016 so we are surprised to see close to 3/4 million dollars allocated to upgrade amenities at the park just two years later. We feel this money could be much better spent on improving other parks in the area, including adding much needed shade sails at key playgrounds across the City of Parramatta.
No Budget Allocated for Rydalmere Park Master Plan
A series of community consultations were conducted about Rydalmere Park, following the closure of the bowling club. A draft masterplan was due to be presented back to the community in February this year, however no further information has been provided. And there is no funding allocated in the Operational Plan. We want to see a learn to ride track added along with a community garden.
No Mention of Robin Thomas Reserve and James Ruse Reserve Master Plan
Similar to Rydalmere Park, extensive community consultation was conducted on upgrading Robin Thomas Reserve and James Ruse Reserve next door, including adding a cafe. No further information has been provided to the community and there is no mention of the master plan in the Operational Plan.
No Budget for Works at Caloola Road Reserve
While listed as a top priority for the Parramatta Ward, no funding has been allocated (that we can tell) for the upgrade of Caloola Road Reserve. This may though be because Council is still waiting for Sydney Water to decide what it is going to do with the land promised to the community.
More Information Needed
There are a wide range of programs and activities mentioned through the Operational Plan. Some in particular sparked our interest and we will be contacting Council to find out more about:
- Wentworthville Early Childhood Development Initiative
- Council’s Open Space & Recreation Plan
- Play Spaces Strategy
- Parramatta City River Strategy
Feedback to Council
You can provide feedback online, by email or by post using the details below. If you would prefer to speak with someone in person, you can arrange for a verbal submission. Your submission may contain facts, opinions, arguments and recommendations.
Please submit your feedback by 5pm on 18 June 2018 (the deadline has been extended from 11th June due to a small omission made in the original plan).
Draft Delivery Program 2018/21
City of Parramatta
PO Box 32
Parramatta NSW 2150
PHONE: 1300 617 058 (8:30 am to 5pm Mon – Fri)
We recommend that you:
express your support for Council creating an inclusive playground, building a new water playground, installing toilets at Halvorsen Park, investigating providing OOSH care and carry out work to improve town centre shops.
ask Council to allocate funds to improve Epping Aquatic Centre and install shade sails at key playgrounds, plus choose a new location in the western part of the City of Parramatta for the new water playground.