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Thursday, 06 July 2023 22:33

Draft masterplan for St Ives Showground and precinct

Ku-ring-gai Council is developing a masterplan for the St Ives Showground and Precinct that will guide future improvements and define a longer term vision for the precinct.

This follows the Plan of Management (PoM) that was finalised in October 2021. The PoM sets the overarching principles and direction for the masterplan and must be adhered to as a regulatory document. We have already reported on the fraught consultation process of development of the PoM.

As a first stage council is seeking input from the community about the masterplan with the objective of creating a plan that will:

… ensure it meets the needs of current and future users and the wider community.

Online survey and submission website

Click here to respond to a survey about the current facilities. You can also provide written comments or upload a letter. The closing date is 17 July, 5 pm.

There are several issues that STEP will be commenting on that are not included in the survey. The written submissions will contribute to the contents of the masterplan. It seems that it is difficult to influence council to change a draft plan once it has been published. This will take place in August with the final draft going before council in September 2023.

User groups such as bike riders and soccer players are likely to be commenting so it would good to hear the views of those of you who value the biodiversity of the precinct (as was demonstrated during the STEP walk led by Mark Schuster in February).

What is being surveyed?

The survey asks questions that are narrowly focussed on opinions about the facilities at the showground including suggestions for changes or improvements. There are also questions about the capacity to hold larger events for more than 300 people.

Parking and traffic movements are the most obvious issues. The showground is already highly congested on weekends given the popularity of the playground and regular events such as the markets and horse riding. The PoM states that:

The lack of formal parking and users creating informal parking areas can cause soil erosion and compaction, which impacts negatively on the environment, vegetation, and water quality.

A major part of the parking area near the entrance is actually in amongst vegetation that is classified as Duffys Forest that is endangered and should be protected. It is a dust bowl or muddy mess depending on the weather. It is only going to get worse if more facilities are going to be developed.

The PoM gave a high priority to defining parking controls and preparing a landscape plan to guide the rehabilitation of the Duffys Forest but no plan has been seen yet.

Some sort of public transport system has to be developed as well as a safer way of exiting onto Mona Vale Road especially when major events are held such as the Medieval Faire.

We are also concerned about the health of the trees that are supporting the high ropes course.

The current PoM is not actually a plan for many parts of the Showground precinct. For areas like the nursery and former Greenfields tip it is merely a set of suggestions or ideas. One concern is the plan to upgrade the link between the Wildflower Garden and the Showground. The area contains prime Duffys Forest vegetation as well as the endangered Genoplesium baueri.