• Tony Bosworth

Ambitious Colbee Park plan – but where’s the money?

A much used and much loved venue for sporting clubs, McGraths Hill’s Colbee Park has also been much neglected over the years but at last is getting some attention with its own Draft Masterplan. The problem is, according to councillor Nathan Zamprogno, there is no money budgeted to carry out any major work on the park during the next decade.

“It’s one of our most used, and most neglected sports fields,” Cllr Zamprogno says.

“I should know, as a soccer dad whose child’s club was based at the park for a decade.

“Despite near constant use from the Oakville United Soccer Club, the Oakville Raiders Baseball Club, the Hawkesbury Hornets BMX Club, frequented by dog-walkers and near the pleasant wetlands of Killarney creek, the park also suffers from limited parking that turns into a quagmire with a breath of rain, insufficient seating, has little shade, an open drain that cuts the park in two, and buildings so inadequate that sports clubs have had to use shipping containers to stow their club’s gear,” said Cllr Zamprogno.

Hawkesbury councillor Nathan Zamprogno

“The baseball club lost all their uniforms and gear when it flooded earlier this year,” he added.

Hawkesbury Council’s Draft Masterplan for the site – now open for public consultation - highlights a whole suite of improvements including upgraded fields, new play equipment, better parking, proper amenities, and storage for clubs (including a female change room), seating and shade structures, a Pump BMX Track, and a footbridge over the Creek connecting nearby Arndell Anglican College.

“The only thing missing is funding to make it happen within 10 years,” Cllr Zamprogno said.

“It’s worthwhile to put this Draft Masterplan together and explore the options but the reality is we have no money for this once we have received the final plan.”

He says he will continue to advocate for the funds, but believes it is time to think outside the square. He points to the Hills Shire Council next door to Hawkesbury as “being flush with cash” but agrees that much of that largesse is on the back of major housing and business developments which Cllr Zamprogno says would not work in the Hawkesbury.

“I am not in favour of over-development,” he says.

But he does believe councillors and the council itself need to think smarter and keep options open, looking at potentially recycling assets and even forming partnerships with private enterprise for specific projects.

He also believes drafting a Masterplan would be better done within council rather than employing outside consultants to do it because he says several local organisations have barely been consulted.

Community feedback is sought on the Draft Landscape Masterplan and a short survey is available for members of the community to prioritise projects which may be considered for funding in future capital works programs. The last day for the receipt of submissions is Friday, 16 October.

View the project details here www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au/colbee-park-plan

Complete the survey here http://www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au/.../survey.../cps2

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