A proposed adventure park next to David Wood playing fields has left community members upset at the lack of development.
East Bowral resident Adam Jacobson spoke in the public forum at the July 8 Wingecarribee Shire Council meeting in relation to Councillor Garry Turland's question with notice about the proposed park.
"The Retford Park development included a VPA (voluntary planning agreement) that allocated $200,000 in 2015 to be used to improve the playground and embellishments and extend the carpark at David Wood playing fields. Those funds have not been used as yet," he said.
"Lot buyers at Retford Park Estate were presented with a plan for an adventure playground on the empty land next to David Wood playing fields.
"The plan describes two distinct play areas, a large adventure area for older children and a separate fenced off area for toddlers.
"The existing small playground next to the fields was to be converted to an exercise equipment area."
Mr Jacobson said residents in East Bowral, south of the proposed playground, were aware of the plan and felt that after five years there expectations surrounding the proposal had not been met.
"Between council conducting a very popular playground survey and the draft playground strategy exhibited, a lease has been granted to the Southern Highlands Bridge Club for 21 years to build a club house exclusively for their use on that empty land," he said.
"While nobody would begrudge the club for wanting to build a home, all of you as councillors approved this lease 13 months after the conclusion of the playground survey, but without the benefit of a playground strategy and possibly without knowledge of the Retford Park VPA or the proposed adventure playground. "
Mr Jacobson said that the existing small playground at the David Wood playing fields had been fenced off for more than six months and that the closest playground for the children was nearly two kilometres away.
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"Councillors, I urge you not to just note this response to this simple question that Councillor Turland has asked, but to actually dig deeper," he said.
"Please ask to be provided with the original adventure plan, VPA details, letters from residents, photos of the state of the current playground and any correspondence about the lease."
Cr Turland's question with notice asked when would the adventure park at David Wood playing fields would be completed.
At the July 8 meeting, Cr Turland moved an amendment which stipulated that the $200,000 from the VPA be brought forward to complete the adventure park and approved by council and the developer.
Deputy general manager for corporate strategy Mark Pepping addressed councillors on the issue which surrounded the VPA.
"The terms of the voluntary planning agreement are stated in the response [provided by council] that the voluntary monetary contribution was for the David Wood Playing Fields towards the embellishment of David Wood Playing Fields, playground improvement and extension of the carpark," he said.
"There is no agreement between the developer and council as to what that improvement to the playground would entail.
"That is something for council to decide.
"All they did was contribute a sum of money for future expenditure.
Deputy general manager for finance Barry Paull also added that the playspace strategy was on public exhibition.
"It is suggesting a level two service of play facility in that precinct there," he said.
"We are waiting for community feedback on that and that will shape, in the future, what kind of play areas we will be developing."
Cr Turland said he had a copy of the VPA produced by Lindsey Taylor and would send to all the councillors.
"It shows an adventure park on the plan, clear as day to where it was to be built," he said.
"People bought in to the Fairfax estate knowing that there was money put aside for an adventure park.
"This has nothing to do with council strategy at the moment, this is prior to our strategy. This is an agreement between the parties and the people who bought into the Fairfax Estate.
"This shouldn't have been stopped, this should've been completed."
The amendment was put to a vote. Councillors Turland, Ken Halstead and Ian Scandrett voted for it. Councillors Larry Whipper, Grahame McLaughlin, Graham Andrews, Peter Nelson and Mayor Duncan Gair voted against it,
The amendment was lost.
The recommendation to note the question and answers provided by council was approved by Councillors Whipper, McLaughlin, Andrews, Nelson and Gair.
Below is a copy of council's response to Cr Turland's question.
"Under the Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) adopted by council on August 12, 2015 following public consultation, a $200,000 monetary contribution for the David Wood Playing Fields towards the embellishment of David Wood Playing Fields, playground improvement and extension of the car park was included. Council is currently undertaking public consultation on the Draft Playspace Strategy. Following the completion of the exhibition period and adoption of the strategy by council, planning for the utilisation of the VPA contribution can be undertaken."