Five thousand sign petition to block Toronto development

Councillor Wendy Harrison will present a petition of 5,157 signatures to Lake Macquarie City Councillors on Monday, October 29 on behalf of the Toronto Foreshore Protection Group (TFPG), objecting to Council’s proposal to approve a multi-storey development on public land at Bath Street, and seeking reclassification of the land to community parkland.

“We’ve received over 5000 signatures supporting a continuous foreshore park from Wharf Road, including Bath Street…that’s a strong community vote preferring parkland over multi-storey development,” said Suzanne Pritchard, representing TFPG.

The population of the Toronto catchment bounded by Freemans Waterhole, Teralba and Wangi Wangi is 31,487 people.

“We’ve been collecting signatures since April at community events and have been rigorous about checking the validity of signatures, trying to remove duplicate or erroneous entries, and even with a small margin for unforeseen errors it’s still over 5000 ratepayers whose preferences are not being considered by the majority of Councillors,” Suzanne said

“The support for the petition has shown that we are not representing a vocal minority but a substantial portion of the local community, people who are truly concerned about the loss of connection with the Lake and insufficient public space for a growing population,” said Suzanne.

Along with the petition, a submission will be delivered to councillors detailing the history of the site, the actions of the TFPG and the issues around progressing the Bath Street Development Application.

“We want to provide councillors and council staff with a detailed report of our understanding of council’s proposal to allay their concerns that we are being misinformed and provide positive recommendations,” said Suzanne.

“The TFPG believe that the 4-6 storey development proposal that exceeds Council’s own planning instruments was rushed with very limited community engagement

“With the benefits of community input from the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan, 194 community comments on the petition, and a clear message from 5157 signatories, we’re hoping that our elected representatives will consider the depth of community feeling and use the opportunity to provide much needed additional open space on the foreshore

“It’s hard to put a price on the community and social well being that public open space provides.It is an investment in the future health and well-being of the local population” said Suzanne.