• Tony Bosworth

$537,000 for Colbee Park to kick off major improvements for all in the local community

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

The $537,000 earmarked in Hawkesbury Council's 2021-22 Budget will be the catalyst for potential improvements at the McGraths Hill park - with new facilities, teens' play area, lighting and bike pump track, fitness equipment, all among locals' wish list items

Cllr Zamprogno - centre- With members of the Oakville Raiders Baseball club and Hawkesbury Sports Council President Les Sheather. Editor's note - this picture is an archive picture, taken on November 21, 2020, when no Covid restrictions were in place

Back almost a year ago through a story in the Post, Hawkesbury councillor Nathan Zamprogno lamented the fact that while Hawkesbury Council were working on a Masterplan for Colbee Park, there was no money available – but that’s changed with just over half a million dollars now allocated for initial works.

The money has been earmarked for the council’s 2021-22 Budget and at this week’s full council meeting the park's Masterplan was adopted unanimously by the 12 councillors.

Cllr Zamprogno says he’s very pleased with the outcome, though the initial spend is just the beginning – that hefty sum of money will be spent on extensive drainage and other earthworks to ensure the park is set up for further improvements.

Those specific improvements and additions to the park have been earmarked thanks to much discussion with all the groups and individuals who use the park, including the Oakville United Soccer Club, the Oakville Raiders Baseball Club, and the Hawkesbury Hornets BMX Club to ask if the plan met their current and future needs.

There were a higher than usual 152 public and group responses to the community consultation period which began back in 2019.

“The response was mixed,” says Clr Zamprogno, “with feedback mentioning limited vehicular access to the BMX track, a lack of lighting - making Colbee the only competitive BMX track in Sydney without lights - noting the susceptibility of the park to low-level flooding, and suggesting storage be moved to higher ground.”

The Draft Masterplan was up for public discussion after an exhaustive period of almost two years talking with the local community – a part Cllr Zamprogno played a large role in – getting locals and groups to send in online suggestions and letting him know what they wanted to see at Colbee.

Out of that, a plan was formed and in the future – there is no timescale yet – other more specific works will be carried out.

“Considering how heavily used Colbee Park is, I’ll be continuing to advocate for funding in future years to progress the Masterplan,” Cllr Zamprogno told the Post.

“As the only councillor who lives in the area and uses the park, I’m fearful that otherwise it will fall off the radar.”

At the moment, Colbee Park is home to a baseball field, 1.5 soccer fields, a BMX track and a cricket pitch.

Highlighted in the Masterplan for potential future development are:

  • Cycle and footpath circuit

  • Inclusive play space

  • Dog off-leash area

  • Shelters and picnic facilities

  • A pump track

  • Outdoor fitness equipment

  • Teens play equipment

  • Infrastructure – lighting, shade, bike racks, bins, seating, bubblers.

“I moved for Council to adopt the new Masterplan for Colbee Park at our meeting [on Tuesday],” said Cllr Zamprogno.

“It was passed unanimously, and after my advocacy last year, I’m pleased to say that $573,000 has been allocated in the 2021-2022 Budget.

"This is not enough to complete all the improvements, but it’s an excellent start. These funds will allow core or ‘enabling works’ that facilitate future improvements, and will benefit the whole park - not just any one user-group,” he said.

“I am convinced that only by having a local councillor continue to advocate for future budgetary commitments, will this program continue to advance,” said Cllr Zamprogno.

“I didn’t hear any other councillor advocating for Colbee Park. No other councillor lives in the area. I do.

“Many of the earlier issues raised by stakeholders have been addressed, and I’ve contacted each of them to verify they are satisfied with the final plan.”

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