Behind the smoke and the mirrors that are obscuring the Lismore Park reclassification furore, there is another array of mirrors and a smoke machine.
Much of the sporting community is suffering under the misapprehension that flood lights cannot be installed on Crozier Oval under the present development consents. This is not true. The last (Lismore City) Council gave a spoken assurance that they would not install light on Crozier Oval, but that Council has gone the way of all things. So the whole we have to change the classification to put in flood lights argument is a complete furphy. No reclassification is necessary at all. Its a smoke machine to disguise the Councils desire to lease the Oakes Oval kitchen long-term to undisclosed business interests.
All that reclassification does is jeopardise the community ownership and control of Lismore Park as a whole. A host of sporting groups use Lismore Park for midweek training and the last thing they want is a future cash strapped Council flogging it off to a corporate giant to expand their shopping centre or even to lease it long term to large exclusive catering or sporting group.
The first and most important condition on the development of Crozier Oval was that it be kept as a recreation area, i.e. a field open during daylight hours. Now the Council has put forward a new management plan to keep it shut all year round, except for competition matches. Considering this means it only gets used on weekends during winter, it is a sad waste of a great common asset.
This warping of development consents is typical of this Council. Just have a look at the so-called Perradenya sustainable village at Caniaba. The conditions of consent for this development have slowly but surely been eroded, so that the so-called environmentally-sustainable development has become a copy of Goonellabah. Residents of Goonellabah mightnt think thats so bad, but just in the past two weeks, four wallabies have been run down because the residents drive like theyre in an urban area when theyre not. Its sad and avoidable and it has angered the Caniaba community who worked so hard to get some decent restrictions of the village development.
But I digress, lets just say that Council decides to accept the new management plan for Lismore Park, which locks it up for 350 days of the year. Then it would be managed contrary to the development consents consequently this would require a whole new development application to be lodged. This is the wobbly, fun-house mirror section, where their heads disappears into their necks.
But the legislative amusement park doesnt stop there.
The most disturbing mirror in the Lismore Park fun-house is one where the whole community vanish into a singularity. Let me explain. If Lismore Park is reclassified operational then any and all management plans are rendered null and void. In short the Council can do as it pleases and all its expenditure on the new management plan was a complete waste of money. No wonder were millions of dollars in debt.
At the moment if the Council wants to offer a 21-year lease on the Oakes Oval kitchens, they have to advertise it. If the land is classified operational they could offer a 99 year lease to a trans-national fast-food giant and no one can complain. Imagine how happy the footballers will be if they cant even hire the bar to sell beer at their own games.
The reality is this, we can keep Crozier Oval open during the week, we can keep the community land classification to safe guard the ownership of our open fields and we can have lights on Crozier Oval. There is no real need to re-classify the park whatsoever. And if this Council goes ahead with it, below the haze and the flickering lights, then we should get rid of the clowns, and the dancing ponies and get a real Council.
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