Ku-ring-gai Council has been developing plans to improve the Turramurra local centre over many years. As a resident of Turramurra for most of my life I can attest that the town centre has hardly changed in over 50 years.
Turramurra has the perpetual problem of being split into three sections by the railway line and Pacific Highway. There is no coherent centre for the community, just strips of shops, a couple of supermarkets and three car parks.
There is a small triangular park, called the Little Village Park, bordered by railway land, Pacific Highway and William Street. It is shaded by large trees that are mostly on railway land. Many of the trees are deciduous so the grass doesn’t grow very well because of the shade but it is very pleasant in all seasons. However there is little vegetation along Pacific Highway so traffic noise and pollution are not buffered. The land slopes away down to the exit from the station. There are a couple of seats but no other facilities.
The park has great potential to be a community space but council claims that it is under-utilised. Could that be because there is little amenity in its current state?
Council has developed a plan ‘to activate’ the Coles supermarket side to the west of the railway line, to be called the Turramurra Community Hub. Little Village Park was not included in the plan originally apart from funding being provided for an upgrade. (No one knows what will happen on the other side of the railway line. Woolworths did put up a proposal leading from the old post office site that remains derelict.)
However last year council proposed to add Little Village Park to the development plan by changing its current zoning as a public park (RE1) to be part of main B2 (local centre) zoning so the park could be developed as part of the Community Hub. The documents suggested a three-storey community centre be built on the land.
There was such an outcry that council held a public hearing. The independent chair recommended that the rezoning not proceed. Despite this, council staff still recommended that the rezoning could proceed and council voted 5 to 4 accordingly on 7 February.
Integration with the Rest of Turramurra
The park could possibly be integrated with development on the other side of the railway line and create a more coherent suburb. The station access bridge has been widened recently so could it be widened even more? But I am not an architect. This will not be possible once there is a large building butting alongside the avenue of trees along the railway line. This is an area with tall trees and the potential for further deep root planting.
The plans for the overall Community Hub development seem to include only concrete plazas with small trees competing with the reflective glare from all the apartment and commercial buildings. Little Village Park could remain an attractive oasis with picnic tables and a shady playground.