Money or the carpark?
THE TORCH Newspaper – 17/06/1992
Will a $48,000 environmental grant be enough to persuade Bankstown Council not to let a piece of land be cleared for and airport carpark?
The Federal Airports Corporation (FAC) asked the land’s trustee, council, if it could clear and landscape the land, and turn it into a carpark and observatory platform.
FAC made a point of stating that “with sympathetic landscaping, vegetation worth of retention could be retained,” and suggested entering into a lease with council for a token $1 per year.
Director of Corporate Services, Mr Dennis Baker, in his report to council, spoke favorably of the offer in view of the lack of funds and plans for the land, plus the fact that FAC would pay for the work and upkeep of the land.
“Provided the land is available for public car parking, a lease agreement is not necessary and the matter might rest on correspondence,” he said.
Fortunately for the plot of land, Ald Ian Stromborg was hesitant in accepting the offer from a group he described as “money grabbing,” and asked for more details.
The Bankstown Bushland Society was, in fact, on the verge of receiving a $48,000 grant from the State Government’s Environmental Planning Authority to restore the land and a nearby area known as Airport Reserve.
(In fact, the only thing standing in the way of the grant is council’s indication that the land will not be put in jeopardy such as the cementing of a carpark.)
So what is so important about the land?
Society secretary, Mr Robert Balzola, said there were no less than 50 endangered species of native flora and there is remnant wetland areas which he said should be retained for both practical and environmental reasons.
He said filling the wetlands will result in water run off, flooding the majority of neighboring properties.
“Less than two per cent of Bankstown is remnant bushland area – and that is shrinking,” he said.
Ald STromborg said a site inspection had been arranged by the society and himself before they had knowledge that the FAC wanted part of the land for a carpark.
“Obviously some of the bushland on the site has considerable merit and I will be guided by the advice of the society.”