Monday, August 11, 2008

Green or greed? The battle for our suburban parklands - The Age

by Peter Hodge

HERE is a challenge.The next time it tickles your fancy to scale the heights of the Rialto or Eureka towers, look towards the northern suburbs of Melbourne from the observation deck and try to spot the parkland. There's Princes Park and Royal Park, although yet another large chunk of the latter is under threat from the Eddington report's road tunnel.

Much further north, on a clear day, you might spy a sliver of greenery, parkland on either side of Coburg Lake. Just to the east of that, running north alongside Edgars Creek from its confluence with Merri Creek, is a 6.5-hectare tract of fully functional parkland. Owned by VicRoads, it is under threat of being sold off to developers unless Moreland City Council can find $10 million to buy it.

Research conducted by Professor David Crawford, research fellow at Deakin University (as reported in The Age, 4/7), has shown that "rich suburbs have better-equipped parks". The northern suburbs have a greater dilemma though — hanging on to the precious little parkland they already have...


...If Pascoe Vale were a marginal electorate, I suspect this issue would have been resolved before the last state election. Planning Minister Justin Madden and Minister for Roads Tim Pallas have a clear choice here: another blatant grab for cash, or a principled, commonsense decision in keeping with the Melbourne 2030 plan and to the benefit of thousands of Melburnians.

If our governments cannot even follow their own plans to protect our valuable public open space, what hope do we have of meeting greater challenges such as warding off the extreme effects of global warming?

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