Residents concern at plan to sell childrens' parks

A GROUP of local residents are concerned a park in their neighbourhood may be sold off and replaced by houses under a council plan to reclassify the land from community to operational.

As part of its Local Environment Plan (LEP), Cooma-Monaro Shire Council is proposing the reclassify 29 parcels of community land to operational land meaning some could be sold off or developed.

A number of parcels will continue to be used as they are and are being reclassified for administration purposes.

Some residents have raised concerns with council over the inclusion of the Lloyd Avenue Park as one of the parcels of land to be reclassified and potentially sold off.

Mother of three Jenna Sopniewski said it was important to keep the parks in the area for the benefit of the children.

"We need to keep those spaces for our kids. My kids live in the park. They are there all the time," she said.

She said neighbours shared similar sentiments.

"They don't want to see houses in there."

Another resident, Sarah Wall, said the park was well used by children as a number of houses in the area had relatively small backyards.

"I think it's a great shame if they sell the park off," she said.

"It is consistently used. I'm concerned for the next generation coming up. We need a place for children to play."

Nine-year-old Abigail Sopniewski regularly plays in the park. She wrote a letter to council when she found out that the park could be sold.

"To the council," the letter starts.

"I really like the park over the fence of our backyard. We use it nearly every day. It is really fun to play there," Abigail writes.

The letter continues to appeal to council to keep the park as it is.

"So please, please PLEASE, don't take the park and replace it with houses. From Abigail," it ends.

Appendix 5 of the Local Environment Study, which outlines why each parcel of land is being reclassified, states that the land in Lloyd Avenue was identified in council's Playground Strategy 2010-2020 as being surplus to Cooma's recreation requirements.

It says the land is being classified as operational as it will provide council with an option to sell the lot.

The land is worth about $50,300.

A public meeting was scheduled for tonight (Thursday) to discuss the reclassification of land but has been postponed to February.

Cooma Mayor Dean Lynch said the public meeting had been postponed after residents raised concerns.

The residents pointed out the meeting was advertised over the Christmas period when most people were out of town. They also had concerns council had not adequately advertised what land was being reclassified.

Cr Lynch said it would be re-advertised in "plain speech".

He said the Lloyd Avenue Park was one of a number of parks identified as being surplus to Cooma's requirements in the playground strategy but that changing the land to operational did not necessarily mean council would change its use.

"That's why we are having a public meeting- to see whether it's the right thing to make it operational or not," he said.

Other parks to be reclassified include the Yareen Road Reserve, the Yareen Road park and playground and the Adams Avenue playground.

Council is proposing to sell the lots at Adams Avenue for housing.

The Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre was also being reclassified and would continue to be used as the site of the Raglan Gallery however, council wishes to be able to have the option to sell the lot.

Two lots on the Monaro Highway currently leased for grazing will be reclassified as council intends to use the land as part of proposed extension of the Cooma landfill.

Twenty hectares of vacant land on Numeralla Road will become operational land for a possible cemetery, crematorium and car park.

Parcels of land set to be reclassified, and continued to be used as they currently are, include the wastewater treatment plant, water treatment facility, water storage facility at Bredbo, the RFS at Colinton, Yallambee Lodge, and the council chambers and administration building.

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