An adventure playground, events lawn, new community hall and a series of gardens are the focal points of a bold plan outlining the possible future of MacCabe Park.
The Mercury revealed in October that Wollongong City Council had kept a long-awaited draft master plan for the CBD site under wraps for a year because of a lack of funding for the project.
The plan, drawn up by the Government Architect’s Office and obtained by the Mercury under freedom of information laws, shows designs for a sprawling, multi-use city park, aimed at catering to a large cross-section of the community.
The proposal suggests a series of ‘‘opportunities’’ to redevelop the park, including flattening the grassy mound to provide open views the length and breadth of the space, installing a series of pathways and establishing an events lawn in the northern half of the park for temporary outdoor art exhibitions and outdoor performances.
The plan also flags setting up an adventure play area for children in the southern third of the park, moving the youth centre from its current space on the corner of Burelli and Keira streets further down the park, establishing gardens along Church Street and building a new community centre with a focus on aged housing and childcare.
Whether or not the plans will come to fruition remains in doubt, with the council reaffirming its previous decision to push the MacCabe Park redevelopment down the list of priorities.
Cr Michelle Blicavs yesterday moved to distance the council from inaction over the plans.
‘‘The [draft planning] process was started before this council was in office,’’ she said, adding she was not sure why the previous council administrators had signed-off on having the plan prepared, when there was no funding to implement it.
‘‘Our council has committed to not commissioning any plans without the intention to implement them,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s important we don’t give the community false hope based on plans that aren’t likely to be actioned.
‘‘I do think redeveloping MacCabe Park is important, but the mall upgrades and the Keira Street precinct are our focus for now.’’
Redeveloping MacCabe Park was among a list of 10 priorities identified in the council’s 2010 CBD Action Plan. The public was invited to nominate what changes they wanted to see in the park in late 2010 and again, in early 2011.
The newly elected council was briefed on the Government Architect’s design in October 2011 but did not consider it a priority.
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