Liberal MPs are calling for Miranda Park to be saved from being taken for the F6 motorway so the green corridor can provide a recreation area for thousands of new apartment dwellers nearby.
The expansive open space between Kingsway and The Boulevarde, which is used for circuses, dog walking and other passive recreation, has been part of the F6 motorway reservation since 1951.
Miranda MP Eleni Petinos and Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman have previously said the F6 should “as far as possible” be built in a tunnel to preserve parkland.
However, Ms Petinos went further in telling State Parliament, “There is no greater example of this than Miranda Park, which must be maintained in its existing form for all in our community to use”.
Mr Speakman told Parliament he “endorsed” the comments, but he was more cautious later when he told the Leader his “strong preference” was the park should be retained.
“If we have to have increased density, it’s essential we preserve open space,” Mr Speakman said.
“Miranda Park is under utilised at present and has great potential to be an enhanced public reserve.”
Ms Petinos told Parliament the government had set a precedent by proposing a four kilometre tunnel from Arncliffe to President Avenue, Kogarah, as the first stage of the F6 extension.
“If this is what is being delivered for St George residents, it must be honoured in our shire,” she said.
Mr Petinos told the Leader, “My electorate has been impacted by the changes in the LEP (local environmental plan), which came through in 2015”.
“There is a lot of construction on the Kingsway that will result in a significant increase in density,” she said.
“The people in those new units are going to need space to exercise and have local amenity.
“There are going to be be significantly more people living in Miranda and those people need facilities.”
“We should put the F6 underground to protect Miranda Park and have a serious talk about what we do with it in the future.”
Ms Petinos would not say what discussions she had had within the government except, “The minister’s office is aware of my feelings”.
Mr Speakman told Parliament the F6 extension should be underground as far as is possible to preserve open space and “must be properly filtered”.
“An assurance must be given that local roads will not be closed and that it is not under-engineered, as the M5 East was under Labor, and that it will not be completed at the expense of timely and appropriate upgrades of T4 [rail line]”
Mr Speakman attacked Labor MPs in St George, who are supporting residents in opposing the proposed first stage of the F6 because it will “dump” WestConnex traffic on to President Avenue, Kogarah, and saturate nearby roads.
Mr Speakman said Labor’s stance was “astounding” given the government was planning stage one to be underground.
Labor MP for Rockdale Steve Kamper said shire residents were being “duped” by the Liberals into thinking the F6 would be extended through the shire.
Mr Kamper said the proposed first stage of the project was not about the F6, but about propping up WestConnex, which needed more “bolted on” sections to make it financially attractive before a tollway company would be prepared to buy it.