Council tries again to have Sylvania Waters park name changed - but gives in on Don Dobie memorial

The Geographical Names Board has been strongly criticised for its response to proposals put forward by Sutherland Shire Council.

Several councillors claimed at the last meeting the board was forming views based on as few as six objections and not taking into account the council represented all ratepayers.

“Council gets to make only one submission and every time there is a concerted campaign again it, it will be rejected,” Cr Steve Simpson said.

“My suggestion is that every time we make a submission we list every councillor who voted for it.”

The criticism followed the board’s advice that council proposals to name a Greenhills Beach reserve after former federal MP Don Dobie and to rename a Sylvania Waters Park after the suburb’s founder James Goyen lacked community support.

The council’s response on the two naming proposals differed.

On the Don Dobie issue, it agreed to a staff recommendation to discontinue the reserve proposal and, instead, name a lookout at Wanda beach after the former MP who had a close connections to the surf life saving clubs.

Liberal councillor Kent Johns refused to vote for the compromise, saying, “I think we should stick to our guns. You do all that good work for the community and you get a very nice balcony named after you”.

Mr Dobie represented the shire in the seats of Hughes and Cook from from 1966-1972 and 1975-1996.

The council dug in on its proposal to rename Hawkesbury Park in Sylvania Waters after the suburb’s founder James Goyen.

A resolution moved by Cr Carol Provan, and carried by a vote of 10-5, will see the council tell the board:

  • The name James Goyen is more historically significant in the locality than Hawkesbury, given Mr Goyen's considerable contribution to the establishment of the local housing estate.
  • The name Hawkesbury has no historic or cultural significance in Sutherland Shire and creates confusion with the Hawkesbury region of Sydney.
  • The board gave public notice of the proposed name change shortly after the council undertook the same process, creating confusion in the local community and resulting in less people making a submission in support of the proposal.
  • Council's public exhibition process showed considerable community support for the name change and should be relied upon by the board.
  • The board should respect the democratically elected, local council's decision to change the name of the reserve. 

Another naming proposal dealt with at the same council meeting was unanimously supported, although some didn’t think it did justice.

In-principal support was given to naming the shelter and lookout on the recently completed section of the Woolooware Bay cycle-walk path after former shire councillor and president Arthur Gietzelt.

“I think he deserves more than just a lookout,” Cr Carol Provan said.