To the naked eye, it seems like a great proposal for the Airds community.
However, several Campbelltown residents say the plan to create several sporting fields behind the Riverside Drive shopping centre is anything but a good deal for locals.
In 2013, Campbelltown mayor at the time and Airds local Sue Dobson came out swinging after the state government announced plans as part of the Airds-Bradbury Renewal Project.
It was sold as a project that would rejuvenate the suburb and provide new housing.
Part of the plan would see the demolition of green spaces – including Kevin Wheatley Reserve, Brindley Park, Dorchester Park and Baden Powell Reserve – to accommodate the housing.
To compensate for the loss, a smaller precinct of sporting fields would be built behind the shopping centre.
“I’ve always thought they (the state government) would develop their own land and leave our reserves alone. But this is a grab for cash. They’re using our parks, sports fields and recreational facilities to profit,” Ms Dobson said in 2013.
“It’s a rort. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they’d come in and take our parks and sports fields.”
Four years on, the Airds-Bradbury Renewal Project and the proposal to establish the sporting fields is now on public exhibition.
Ms Dobson, who is no longer a councillor, declined to comment further however Wayne Smithers – who ran as the number two candidate on Ms Dobson’s Community Service Environment ticket at the 2016 council elections – said locals should not be fooled.
“Kevin Wheatley VC Reserve will be subdivided into 110 Lots, instead of becoming a superior sporting fields complex,” he said.
“It will remove great open green space plus the removal of the wildlife corridor.
“What we the ratepayers will get in return is two soccer fields behind the shops which will destroy what is left of Smiths Creek.”
Campbelltonian Nea Makowski, who also ran for council last year, reiterated Mr Smithers’ comments.
“If this new proposal is approved we stand to lose a valuable wildlife corridor entirely,” she said.
“Considering its proximity to the Georges River bush land and the Dharawal National Park, I believe it is a valuable buffer for wildlife which should be enhanced.
“The whole point of urban renewal is to improve our housing commission suburbs, not to rip our community off.”
Visit Campbelltown Council or one of council’s libraries to view the application and have your say before the public exhibition period ends on Monday, May 15.
The whole point of urban renewal is to improve our housing commission suburbs, not to rip our community off.Nea Makowski