Labor has taken a swipe at the Greens over the Blackheath land sale debate, saying the party was putting community facilities in the Lower Mountains at risk.
NSW Greens Upper House MP David Shoebridge last week accused Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) of “rolling the dice” with ratepayers’ money by going ahead with plans to sell the old Blackheath airstrip site in order to help fund the Springwood civic centre precinct upgrade.
He was pictured in last week’s Gazette with Ward 1 Greens candidate Brent Hoare and Blackheath Airstrip Community Group online administrator Nigel Holland, saying that in bypassing a consultation process prior to the decision to proceed with the Hat Hill Road development, BMCC had failed to deal with the communtiy in good faith.
But Labor has called for unity on the project, which is underpinned by a $9.5 million Federal Government grant.
Ward 3 Labor candidate Mick Fell and Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill said the funding was the biggest grant in the city’s history, and would see regional concert hall facilities and an expanded library servicing communities from Lapstone to Faulconbridge.
“Last week the Greens Ward 1 candidate for council joined with Greens MP Michael Shoebridge in Springwood in calling for what amounts to a halt in proceedings of a development at Blackheath, a vital part of council’s funding strategy for this $15 million project,” Mr Fell said in a statement.
“The Greens are highlighting the link between the Blackheath development and the Springwood upgrade. We understand that link as well.
“To simultaneously claim to support the Springwood project while undermining the funding strategy that will guarantee its success is a blatant political stunt.
“Candidates in the upcoming election who do not support the Hat Hill Road proposal cannot say they support the Springwood upgrade. The two are closely linked."
Clr Greenhill said Mr Fell had requested the process keep moving throughout the rest of the current council’s term.
“Mick and I call for unity,” he said.
“We will work to ensure that all the necessary bushfire and other studies take place at Blackheath. We will look at options for improved curbing and guttering for local residents in Hat Hill Road.
“We will lock in protection of the surrounding area. I will continue to receive and pass on to senior officers those comments and requests I receive from Blackheath residents.
“The Blackheath proposal is much smaller than the zoning allows. By going ahead with this option residents no longer face the risk of a future developer coming along and constructing something much denser, which the law would allow on this site.
“The NSW Greens are putting fantastic regional facilities for the Lower Mountains at risk. We need to work together on this and ensure the right outcome for the whole Blue Mountains.”