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This article was published in The Daily Advertiser on 22 February 2021 Click here to read the full article

Pioneer community leaders, residents ‘reject’ Griffin Green as solution to housing crisis

BACKING: Pastor Matthew Vrancic, Leonie Kawelmacher and Sarah Wilson submit the petition signed by roughly 300 Griffith residents. PHOTO: Kat Vella

 BACKING: Pastor Matthew Vrancic, Leonie Kawelmacher and Sarah Wilson submit the petition signed by roughly 300 Griffith residents. PHOTO: Kat Vella

The petition has the backing of almost 300 Griffith residents wanting to see plans for the Griffin Green Housing project halted to make time for more comprehensive community consultation.

The community have expressed concerns since the proposal was first flagged that Pioneer children stand to be the biggest losers when Dave Taylor Park disappears to make way for the affordable housing project.

Alma Bamblett Community Centre co-ordinator Leonie Kawelmacher said the inclusion of a basketball court in revised plans is not enough as children need green space.

“If they take away the green space the kids will be left with nothing,” Ms Kawelmacher said.

“We use that grass space for a variety of things, from food van to kids clubs. The main thing is there are kids in that park every day in the skate park and the basketball courts.”

The petition states:

“It is unreasonable that the proposed development intends to significantly increase the number of homes (with higher density) while significantly reducing the only available public, open green space. We believe that this development would never be considered for any park or public, open space in other, more affluent suburbs such as Collina or North Griffith.

“While there is genuine need for affordable housing in Griffith, we strongly reject that the current proposal is the right solution”.

Among the petitioners was Pastor Matthew Vrancic from The Seventh Day Adventist Church, who said Dave Taylor Park was an ill-advised location for a new housing development.

“Everyone in the community agrees this is not the best proposal for the area,” Pastor Vrancic said.

“Taking away a park that belongs to the community is going to bring animosity, it won’t bring cohesion and unity.

“The main opinion of the community is to let us have a say on this and find a better solution.”

Griffith City Council and Argyle Housing have held two community consultation sessions seeking resident feedback since October 2020.

However, plans to excavate contaminated materials from the mound in the centre of the park are still flagged to begin in early March, despite community members expressing safety concerns.

“One of our major concerns is the asbestos under the mound,” Ms Kawelmacher said.

“We really believe that they can’t keep it safe for the residents. They say they are bringing in experts but will they live across the road when it’s being done? On a windy day like today how are they going to manage it?

“Leave the mound as it is. It’s been like that for years and no one has been hurt and the kids in Pioneer actually use it.”

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