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Peachester playground on the cards?

Government may sell Peachester kids short

Peachester locals are fighting for a vacant block of land to be developed as a park instead of being sold for housing.

For many years, locals were under the impression that the land on the corner of High Street and Peachester Road at Peachester was earmarked to be a community park when it became available.

However, in a shock announcement it was recently advertised to be sold at auction on May 18, causing much consternation among the locals.

In June 2011, the divisional councillor at the time, Anna Grosskreutz, wrote in the Glasshouse Country News that the Sunshine Coast Council had been trying to secure the land from the state government as a “strategic parkland purchase” for about a decade and that she hoped that it would actually happen within the next year.

Over the subsequent years, the community patiently waited for an announcement of a new park. The announcement instead was that the land was to be privately sold and lost forever.

Concerned Peachester residents, including Ray Pulham, have banded together to have the decision reversed.

“Over the years, Peachester community members have worked on demonstrating public interest in and use of public open space in Peachester,” Ray wrote on the Peachester community Facebook page. She said their efforts had seen locals make more use of the sports oval and cricket grounds located 1.5km north west of town.

“The High Street land would provide open space park land that is close to the town centre in a location that families could easily walk and ride to, and visitors would stop at.

“It would make a great place for community gatherings like outdoor meetings, birthday parties and for unstructured play,” she said.

It is now time for community members to have a say.

Local state member Andrew Powell has received numerous calls and emails from Peachester locals asking for him to step in on their behalf.

In response, Mr Powell has sent an urgent letter to Dr Anthony Lynham, the state Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, asking him to put a halt on the sale until “every effort is made to negotiate with the Sunshine Coast Council to transfer/purchase the land for a common recreational park”.

Mr Powell is very receptive to the location becoming a community park.

“I think it's a fantastic idea,” he said.

“While I appreciate the investment the council has made in the cricket oval, residents continue to contact me wanting a play-based park in the centre of the community.

“And I've had teenagers ask me for a skate park. The High Street land could easily accommodate all of this and deliver a great outcome for the community,” Mr Powell said.

If the land is to become a community park, it will need to be controlled and managed by council.

Division 1 councillor Rick Baberowski is similarly supportive.

“I strongly agree with the community that the state should not sell off this land and it’s particularly disappointing that the state did not choose to contact council or me about their intention to sell. With that in mind, I have drafted a letter to Minister Lynham respectfully asking him to stop the sale and transfer the land to council as a reserve,” Cr Baberowski said.

“It’s my strong view that the community should not have to buy land already owned by the community. That makes no sense to me.

“Based on the history of negotiations, I am confident that council officers could support a report to council recommending that council take over responsibility for maintenance of the site and for its use as a future local park.”

In a step in the right direction, Minister Lynham was contacted for comment and confirmed that he has taken a particular interest in the situation.

“I have asked my department to take another look at the decision,” he said.