With Manly Council poised to lock in the controversial oval car park project, a group of prominent local citizens and experts has formed an alliance in a last-ditch effort to “Save Manly Oval”.
The group, Save Manly Oval Alliance, is concerned that the car park project fails on financial, heritage, traffic management and environmental grounds and will deliver an overall gain of only 40 extra car spaces - at the massive cost of an estimated $1M for every new space.
“Our aim is to conserve and protect for the public interest, the heritage and environmental values of Manly Oval and its surrounds in the historical context,” Alliance president Jack Steggall said. “We will fight this all the way to the Land and Environment Court if we have to”.
While Manly Council describes the car park as being constructed “under” the oval, the Alliance says this is not the case.
“The project would involve digging up and removing the oval along with almost 50,000 cubic metres of its natural soil and sand base. The oval would be replaced with a two-story reinforced concrete car park, with access ramps and ventilation stacks, and a raised playing field on its roof. It would be a complete environmental disaster,” Mr Steggall said.
“It is impossible to believe that this proposed redevelopment will in any way retain or even approximate, the iconic status of Manly Oval, in terms of its history, heritage value, natural beauty and usability as a sports oval and recreational area,” he said.
Additional concerns the Save Manly Oval Alliance have include:
The Alliance will engage professional experts to assess financial, heritage, environmental, hydrological and traffic issues arising from the oval car park proposal.
Alliance members include:
President: Jack Steggall - retired solicitor and longstanding Manly resident
Vice President: Former Lord Mayor of Sydney and local government expert Jeremy Bingham.
Secretary: Roger Freney - economist, formerly with the Commonwealth Treasury
Former Manly State MP and Manly Councillor David Barr
Prominent Manly businessman John Humphrey of Humphreys Newsagency and Book Centre.
Former Manly Councillor and environmental advisor Dr Judy Lambert.
Local Manly rugby identity and former Wallaby Bob McLean.
Civil engineers David Wunder and Ian Sharp.
For more information go to savemanlyoval.com.au
or StopManlyOvalCarPark on Facebook.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.