Promised heritage workshops may clarify situation

IN LIGHT of your newspaper’s editorial please note:

1. We do not reside on the avenue.

2. We do value this location as being “tranquil” and multifunctional for all people, (young and old) for a variety of reasons. 

3. As “Friends of the Avenue” we never for once thought we were “hijacking legitimate development” with side issues.

We always thought as ratepayers we were entitled to express an opinion on something we thought should remain in situ. 

Protecting something that cannot be replicated in our lifetime is not being shortsighted.

We were relieved to find that the DA 0355/2012 submitted to Tamworth Regional Council by Peel River Estate Pty Ltd for the subdivision of 104 lots in Calala did not include a road access to King George V Memorial Ave (KGVMA) and hence at this stage this particular DA will not impact on this location or affect the English oak (quercus robur) trees.

That is very, very encouraging to see and acknowledges the recent petition.

However, that is not to say that subsequent DAs for further lots regarding this particular development won’t again raise access road issues for KGVMA and Calala residents.

Consequently, we have asked when will council be scheduling the heritage workshops concerning this location (which was mentioned at a previous council meeting earlier this year). 

Certainly this would provide an opportunity for a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) to be at the very least considered should the area prove to be of local heritage significance (as many believe it to be whilst others already think it is heritage-listed and thereby saved).

Councils already use Conservation Management Plans as they are “the principal guiding document for the conservation and management of a heritage place.

It identifies the heritage values, or significance of a place, the conservation policies to be applied to protect the significance in the face of change and a strategy through which the policies will be put into action.

It is applicable to public and private heritage places and includes information in heritage legislation, the Burra Charter, technical notes, grants, places with natural and indigenous values, heritage consultants and managing contracts.” 

So we are hopeful that something like this could provide a form of protection for this location into the future.

We have never been opposed to development per se because it does create many, many jobs and brings benefits to the city.

However, our worry has always been losing or compromising something very unique and special right at the edge of the CBD, when there quite possibly may be an alternative. 

The beauty of our city is we already have what many other cities are trying to create. How fortunate are we KGVMA is a living, green legacy already on our doorsteps for this and the next generation to use in so many ways – opportunities for recreation, health and fitness as technology, traffic, and noise increasingly dominate towns and cities and impact on people’s quality of life.

Various walking and cycling groups, individual walkers, joggers, wedding groups for photos, family gatherings, picnics, fitness training groups, photography, art and yoga groups already make use of this area.

Some have even suggested that there are other multiple uses for this area, including a record- breaking line dancing event during the Country Music Festival could start on KGVMA to advertise the January festival, a busking venue, a Long Lunch fundraising venue (the photographic shots and advertising for the city would be captivating and far-reaching). 

Quite possibly there are many more options to be explored with council already owning an adjoining property/land beside the entry to the avenue.

Throughout many European towns and cities shared “green” spaces offering multiple leisure uses is an emerging concept because people want/need it.

The multiple leisure uses provided for groups and individuals to access an area like KGVMA should be valued and nurtured and promoted as such. 

Our concern was that becoming “entrenched” with widening our roads and spaces to accommodate high traffic turnover from a proposed new subdivision (when there is an alternative road option) would not only be compromising the integrity of KGVMA but would be harming the amenity and history of an area which certainly could not be replicated in our lifetime. 

It just happens to have an aesthetic, rural outlook and be located at the edge of our CBD with an important historical background.

In the final report of The Tamworth Heritage Study prepared for Tamworth City Council (March 1988) by Jonathan Falk Planning Consultants Pty Ltd, in association with Rodney Jensen and Associates Pty Ltd the avenue of oak trees at KGVMA is listed on the Heritage Inventory as Item number 205 and is described as “part of the original planting scheme of Tamworth creating an entry to the city from the east and an important memorial to servicemen killed in World War I”.

So while it is a relief there are no access road issues this time, it does not mean future subsequent DAs will not place this area at risk again which is why the proposed heritage workshops are important – and needed sooner rather than later.

Roz and Ian Kensell

TAMWORTH

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