Save our parks, residents say

RESIDENTS turned out in force at a community meeting to protest a council plan that could see the sale of some local parks.

More than 150 Cooma residents, including children and elderly people, attended a meeting at the library on Thursday to have their say on a proposal by Cooma-Monaro Shire Council to reclassify 29 parcels of land from 'community' to 'operational' including parks at Adams Avenue, Yareen Road and Lloyd Avenue.

Concerned residents packed into the Vin Good Memorial meeting room and spilled out into the foyer.

The meeting, designed for about 20 people, got heated at times, as angry residents voiced their concerns on the proposal.

They called on council to keep the parks, highlighting the importance of "green spaces" in town.

One resident, Sarah Wall, received a round of applause from the meeting when she called on the elected councillors to save the parks from sale.

"I've lived here for 25 years," she said.

"I love this town and my children have grown up here. I want to save all the parks, not just the park close to my home.

"My first objection is that it's a shortsighted vision. Think about the generations to come. Once the land is gone it will never be regained."

Council's plan is to decommission a number of smaller parks of low standrard, and build bigger ones of a better standard.

Council's recreation and property manager Ross Lawley told the meeting the plan was part of the council's recreation strategy and that it was about making the distribution of parks more "equitable".

"We have a very high number of playgrounds per capita and most have one swing or slippery dip," he said.

Mrs Wall said it was important to keep the smaller parks in neighbourhood areas, raising concerns about stranger danger and safety.

Others said children needed space to play and too many kids were sitting inside playing video games.

There was one suggestion for council to remove the playground equipment but keep the land.

There were also concerns about the council's need for better communication and consultation with the community about these types of plans.

Mayor Dean Lynch said council would look at the issues raised as part of its Local Environment Plan (LEP).

Councillors will assess the submissions at workshops and make a decision with how they move forward with the LEP.

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