Parks rationalisation more of a review, says SDRC

SDRC has stated that the controversial parks rationalisation will not be as severe as locals are expecting.

By Dominique Tassell

Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) has stated that the controversial parks rationalisation will not be as severe as locals are expecting.

SDRC Mayor Vic Pennisi and CEO Dave Burges stated that it is a review, with the word ‘rationalisation’ perhaps giving too harsh an impression.

Mayor Pennisi referenced relatively unused land across the region, such as five acres in Clintonvale that SDRC used to maintain.

“It had a cairn in there that represented that this could be an area where Cunningham had passed through,” he said.

He stated that the cairn was moved from the site to the nearby driver reviver, which he said means more people now see it.

“It has some significance and some visitation now,” he said.

Mayor Pennisi stated that SDRC spoke to the families that placed the cairn in Clintonvale first, and moving the cairn meant that SDRC no longer had to maintain those five acres.

The land is freehold and can be sold off.

He said this kind of action is a no-brainer.

Mayor Pennisi stated that the parks rationalisation list includes every park in the region, but that they are of course not going to consider selling off each one.

“I mean we’re not going to sell Leslie Park. And it’s on the park rationalisation list.”

When asked about parks such as Pennant Park which have received considerable support from locals, CEO Dave Burges said that SDRC will listen to the community and consider the parks rationalisation list further at the meeting this month.

“We’re going to be talking about it a bit further and decide on how we go ahead,” he said.

“As the Mayor said, rationalisation is not the right word. We like to think of it more as a parks improvement program.”

Both the CEO and Mayor Pennisi referenced the amount of money spent by SDRC on maintaining parks in the region, with the rationalisation program a possible attempt to lower the costs of maintenance so staff are not stretched so thin.

You can read more about the state of parks in the region on page 10.