Campaign to restore Blaxland War Memorial Park

Most residents don't even know it exists but a 95-year-old park in Blaxland could be returned to its former glory if a group of locals has their way.

They have called on Blue Mountains council to reopen the one-hectare Blaxland War Memorial Park, which sits between the highway and the railway line extending from Baden Place to Wilson Way. It contains a memorial honouring Blaxland soldier Private Harold Campbell, who died during WWI.

Since the highway widening more than 20 years ago, the park has become neglected and overgrown.

"The park's had a difficult life," said Blaxland resident Davina Curnow. "My father built the picnic shelters during WWII and now I don't know where they are."

After a push by residents to restore the park in 2016, the council removed white ant-infested picnic shelters and locked the park's two access points.

"Why are we letting this park die on the vine? Access can be resolved. We could have a dog walking area, a little nursery here, all manner of things for the community to enjoy," said Blaxland resident and former Blue Mountains Labor mayor Peter O'Toole.

He said council had considered the issue of access in May 2016, but decided the $185,000 necessary to conduct a design and traffic study with the RMS could be better spent elsewhere.

"The park is a great community asset, bigger than Glenbrook Park, yet it has been wasted because council is unprepared to spend the money necessary to provide safe access, and the community's indifference, largely based on lack of knowledge of the size, history and potential of the Blaxland War Memorial Park," Mr O'Toole said.

Mrs Curnow has many a fond memory of days spent in the park. "We had swings, seesaws, picnics here and bonfires happened here. The school used it all the time."

They felt Blaxland was being neglected, and a broader vision for the village needed to be embraced, instead of a master plan for just the retail area.

A spokeswoman for Blue Mountains council said with recent changes to Crown Land legislation, council was being appointed as Crown Land manager of this reserve and had recommended it be categorised as a park.

She said a plan of management will be prepared for the park over the next two years, and options for use will be reviewed, but there would be no immediate changes.

The park could be eligible for the Metropolitan Greenspace Program where councils and the state government split the costs for approved projects.

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