I’ve been immensely proud of the work Sydney Creative Play has done in such a short time at our new playgroup space at 11 Close Street in Canterbury. Our playgroup has served hundreds of kids from around Inner West and Southwest Sydney and our school holiday programs are growing by leaps and bounds – in our 4 January sessions we served over 150 children.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I read about a new DA that would wipe out our space, to be replaced with a massive 439 unit development.
The news came out of left field for me, as I was not aware, nor was the business-owner I sublease from, about the plans for this block. I attended the above-mentioned community meeting and have joined with a group of local residents to oppose the DA. (DA details can be found here.)
I have also emailed several staff at the Canterbury-Bankstown city council. I will copy my message below as an “open letter” so that you may see the concerns being raised.
So how can you help?
There are several actions you can take:
Sign this petition being circulated to stop the DA.
Write your own email to the council. You can write as a concerned resident or a playgroup attendee or both. The petition above has many great points that you can highlight. In your email, please reference “242-254 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury: DA 503/13/A”. You can send your email to: email@example.com and CC to Mine.Kocak@cbcity.nsw.gov.au firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend the community progress update meeting to be held in the garden square at 20 Close Street on Sunday 5 February at 5pm.
Purchase a playgroup Term Pass. This helps us demonstrate community support for our programs and also helps with cashflow for what could potentially be a costly move for us.
Below is the letter that I have sent to Canterbury-Bankstown Administrator Richard Colley to highlight the impact both to Sydney Creative Play as an organisation and to my family as Canterbury residents who love living along the Cooks River.
Dear Mr Colley,
I met you this past week at the Australia Day Awards ceremony, where I
was one of the nominees for Volunteer of the Year. How lovely it was
to meet some fellow community members doing great work.
I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know a bit more about the
work I am doing locally, as well as how it is in jeopardy due to a
planned DA in Canterbury.
This past August I began sub-leasing a space at 11 Close St in
Canterbury – it’s a warehouse right along the Cooks River and it
perfectly suits the programs that I run.
Along with a team of about 9 other local mums (all of us volunteers),
I run Sydney Creative Play, an incorporated not-for-profit
organisation. Our mission is to provide opportunities for young
children in Sydney to explore creative and artistic play in safe,
nurturing and educational environments.
We do this in the form of two weekly playgroups for children under 5 –
one focusing on art and one on nature, as well as school holiday
programs for kids of all ages.
One of the highlights since we began was an event we ran just a few
weeks ago: a Nature Scavenger Hunt which saw 32 local children and
their carers out exploring the Cooks River and learning about local
plants and animals, then returning to our play space for stories,
sensory games and a picnic.
Ironically, it was the very next day that I was made aware of a DA
that is proposing to knock down a whole block of Close Street
including, you guessed it, our play space.
I am referring to 242-254 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury: DA 503/13/A which
will see a 439-unit development take over this space.
My concerns are not just related to the impacts on my organisation. As
a Canterbury resident I have concerns about the amount of development
taking place along Canterbury Road without regard for supporting
infrastructure. How will this DA affect the local schools and
hospital? What kind of a traffic nightmare will the Close St cul de
sac become when upwards of 500 new cars begin coming in and out of it
on a daily basis?
This is to say nothing of supporting the natural environment along the
Cooks River. My children and I utilise the green space and the bike
path in this area both for playgroup and for our personal leisure.
I am sorely disappointed to see a thriving community space disappear
to real estate developers. I am wondering how the Canterbury-Bankstown
council can support us as a developing non-profit so that we can
continue to serve the community.
I’d love to meet with you to discuss the matter further. Please advise
when would be a suitable time.