NORMALLY I use this space for just one topic, but this week there are just too many I want to touch on, so here’s a bit of a scattergun hit:
1. We’re still waiting on a result from the poll of St John’s Church parishioners as to whether that Camden heritage icon is the latest to be sacrificed in exchange for developer dollars.
I’m told there is great confidence it will go through. If so, I fear it will only be when those beautiful park-like surroundings are bulldozed that the ramifications will be fully realised. Just another brick in the growing wall between our churches and the rest of the community.
2. Congrats to the success of Feast Campbelltown.
The council and I haven't been BFFs lately (my constructive criticisms aren’t always seen as constructive), but credit where credit is due. I popped into Minto’s Redfern Park on Saturday arvo and joined the big crowds rolling into the new celebration of food and culture.
It also shows how far this ‘ex-Houso’ area has come, and despite the drought, a jovial Mayor George Brticevic told me he was glad it hadn’t rained that day...as the park is actually a retention basin and the event might have, um, floated away.
May it grow and prosper.
3. We saw a lot of coverage this week about angry Camden commuters and the “car park crisis” at the newest train stations. This not only speaks of poor planning, but broken faith. It was also the Premier herself who promised new parking for Camden commuters at Campbelltown station, then didn’t do it.
This goes hand-in-hand with new schools opening with rows of demountables. Why is the massive growth of our area such a gobsmacking surprise to the same government ramming it through?
4. A chorus of voices also slammed the state government’s decision to raise Warragamba Dam wall, destroying much of the pristine emu habitat behind it.
This has nothing to do with protecting people downstream, and everything to do with using the higher wall as an excuse to squeeze an extra 130,000 extra people onto flood-prone land near Penrith. They’re putting people at risk, to look after developer mates. As per usual.
Here's a bit of a scattergun.
5. I love Rotary, and the people in it, and being made a “Paul Harris Fellow” by Campbelltown’s Rotarians is my most treasured honour from my days as editor. They are constantly backing great causes, and now we see local drought-stricken farmers will receive $250,000 thanks to the Rotary Club of Narellan. We might not have beaches or snowfields, but Macarthur has heart second to none.
6. It was sad to hear of the death of Bruce Cunningham, a true gentleman who was Camden’s town clerk before 1993.
The news took me back to my days as a young reporter, and I pined for that old council, once dominated by smiles and independents, where voting results might be 8-1 on one topic, then 5-4 on the next, then 6-3...before it was turned into today’s “mini state Parliament” with polarised party-line voting.
7. Wollondilly voters have, to their credit, kept party politics out of their council. That’s not to say there aren’t deals, or loose factions, but it’s not as polarised.
Judy Hannan, for example, was not supposed to be re-elected as mayor this month … a coup was ready to be sprung. But then it all changed, she won, and will remain on as (in my opinion) Macarthur’s leading statesperson, demanding infrastructure answers from a government that only hears developers. Congrats to her.
8. Well done, also, to the mighty East Campbelltown Eagles for winning their third Sydney Shield premiership.