It’s a rather unloved patch of green in Springwood: Rest Park, nestled between Vinnies and the Gazette’s office on Macquarie Road, is rarely used for recreation.
It’s most commonly as a shortcut to the station from Springwood Avenue. It’s also a dumping ground for rubbish and sometimes provides a venue for illicit activities.
The toilets have long been boarded up and the only regulars seen there these days are the construction workers from the adjoining new unit development catching a bit of lunch.
So it was not at all surprising when council voted last week to lay Rest Park to rest – as a park, anyway.
Councillors voted to reclassify the area from community land to operational land. This means it can be developed for mixed use, including shop-top housing, retail and offices.
The rezoning is part of the progress on the Springwood Master Plan.
Cr Daniel Myles said he was happy to see Rest Park go: “It’s an ugly park, to be frank. It doesn’t represent the best value for Springwood.”
But Cr Myles, with his fellow ward 3 Crs Mick Fell and Shae Foenander, all rejected plans to also reclassify parts of Springwood Avenue below the town square.
Cr Myles said the slope of the land meant that multi-storey buildings could create a canyon-like effect down Springwood Avenue and overshadow houses across the road.
Cr Foenander told the meeting: “I’ve never had anyone come up and say, we want more high rise in Springwood. I personally don’t believe that you can blend high rise development in such a quaint, historic town as Springwood.”
She later told the Gazette one of the reasons people love the Mountains was because it hadn’t become like a “concrete metropolis” with uncharacteristic tall buildings and units.
“The master plan acknowledges that Springwood needs a face lift; what Springwood town centre doesn't need is a concrete corridor and 200 more people.
“I am proud to have voted to preserve our history, our legacy to be left behind for future generations."
The report on master plan progress also revealed that the RMS will be conducting a congestion and safety program, looking at the Highway/Hawkesbury Road/Macquarie Road intersection.
An RMS spokeswoman said it has provided $100,000 to council to carry out traffic studies for Katoomba and Springwood as part of the NSW Government’s Safety and Congestion Program.
“Roads and Maritime has been working with council to determine the scope of the studies which are expected to be completed in June this year,” she said.