By Peter Simmons

On Wednesday evening Bathurst councillors received the “Centennial Park scoping study for future use options”, a report from architects that won the project tender last year. It’s important to remember that a Friends of Centennial Park survey of the Bathurst community in 2014 found that 98 per cent opposed housing in the park and 89 per cent opposed public buildings.

Bathurst residents have consistently said they want Centennial Park left as a park. Last year, 91 per cent said they wanted the park retained as open green space.

The community also want the park better used. More use involves making the park more attractive and desirable: irrigation to make it green all year round, softening the grass so that kids want to play on it for hours, creating shade to cool and protect, and improving pathways and facilities like barbecues and play equipment.

The Bathurst community are being asked to comment on the architects’ five options, but will they really know what building the options involve? The diagrams in the 120 page document are 2 dimensional, so buildings are just words on a page.

The labels and the language are abstract, but the community should be aware that each option involves a lot of concrete. I’ve highlighted below the building works the architects are proposing in the five different options.

  • Option 1, “A park for community and visitors to share”, includes 4498 square metres of hard paving, 1780 square metres of car park, a pavilion and an amenities block.
  • Option 2, “A park where civic and residential amenity meet”, includes a new $10 million art gallery and amenities, 1682 square metres of car park and 5318 square metres of hard paving.
  • Option 3, “Sustaining green space by invested interest”, includes a new art gallery/community centre for $1.2 million, a four-storey residential building on 17000 square metres, a 1222 square metre car park and 3295 square metres of hard paving.
  • Option 4, “A place of culture and leisure”, includes 2369 square metres of car park, 2755 square metres of hard paving and a new $13million art gallery and amenities.
  • Option 5, “A useful place 24/7”, includes 1783 square metres of hard paving, two-storey residences for 50 people over 4100 square metres and 2050 square metres of residential car park.

Given the community’s frequently expressed opposition to building on Centennial Park, any building involved in the five use options presented by the architect should be clearly spelt out to people before they comment.

Peter Simmons is a member of The Friends of Centennial Park (FoCP).