Concerns have been raised regarding the development of a Canterbury Racecourse Masterplan by Canterbury-Bankstown Council, with claims that at this early stage of planning, successive steps have been put in place to limit consultation.
The Council has recently held a Community Voice Panel, and is due to hold another on 24 March. Local residents had to apply to be part of this process and were required to address the following criteria:
Issues raised about the consultation process include:
- late notification of acceptance onto the panel,
- advertising one set of dates and then changing the session to other dates,
- running the sessions remotely and simultaneously using multiple sources of technology making it difficult for some sections of community to participate (e.g. elderly residents)
- leading conversations away from discussions about conservation
- not consulting traditional owners or elders
- requiring participants to sign a non-disclosure statement to attend one of the sessions.
Residents are concerned that strategies in this round of consultation have effectively limited consultation, and tried to ensure that further communication about the process is limited to exclude anyone beyond the original group.
The development of the Canterbury Racecourse Masterplan comes at a time when the moratorium on development of the racecourse has recently expired, the existing racecourse car park is likely to be decommissioned, heritage restrictions of Ashbury are being reviewed, former light industrial land on Milton street Ashbury has been demolished and rezoned for six-storey apartments, the intersection of Milton street and Georges River road is being upgraded, and the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor is being developed. There has already been recent, substantial high-rise housing development along Canterbury road, some of which breached the council’s own development controls at the time.
For further information about Canterbury Park racecourse, refer to the following:
Canterbury Park racecourse - The Dictionary of Sydney
Canterbury Racecourse - State Heritage Inventory Listing
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the Geoactive text book series.