Fight to keep park as a green space, not for housing
February 11, 2022
ABOVE: Residents living near Melaleuca Park and some supporters from Sunnyside Park with Councillor Patrick Deegan at Melaleuca Park in Casino. Photos: Susanna Freymark
Melaleuca Park is on Rosewood Ave in Casino, wedged between the tin fences of nearby houses.
The grass may be long and the ground soggy when it rains, but it is the neighbourhood park that some residents want to see stay as a park.
Ten residents and Councillor Patrick Deegan gathered at the park on Friday, February 11, to talk about saving it.
Last year Richmond Valley Council identified five parks as having low community usage and wanted them re-classified so the land could be sold for new homes, with the proceeds being directed to upgrading other parks in Casino.
Residents living near Sunnyside Park formed a committee and petitioned the council to keep their park.
Residents near Melaleuca Park are hoping the same will happen for their park.
Andrew and Barbara Shaw have lived next to the park for more than 30 years. Their back fence used to be the goalposts when children played soccer in the park.
“That’s our third back fence,” Ms Shaw said, “it didn’t bother us.”
They were happy to see the park being used.
In the past years, the grass has grown long and residents said they often have to mow it themselves.
“We mow a section, another neighbour mows another section,” Ms Shaw said.
Pam Ronan’s house borders Melaleuca Park too.
“We need to keep our green spaces. We haven’t got enough,” Ms Ronan said.
The developer who designed the block made this green space, she said.
“We have a heap of kids in Coolibah Estate and they’re playing on the street.”
The demographic around Melaleuca Park has changed. It is an older population now, Ms Ronan said, and they don’t use the park.
She likes the breeze that reaches her house from the park and she said if units were built there, that breeze would be lost.
Other residents enjoy the park as a place to walk and play with their dogs.
Residents were keen to have seating in the park.
Mr Deegan was invited to the gathering by residents.
“People know what my views were before I was elected to council about keeping green spaces,” he said.
“Things haven’t changed.”
Mr Deegan urged residents to attend the council’s community consultations to express their views about the park.
Dan Phelan Park, RSM Park and Russell Park are also on council’s list to be reclassified for housing.