Coogee Candidate and CBD To South East Light Rail: Paul Pearce fronts up to Greens urgency motion debate but won’t support Randwick Council’s rescue bid for High Cross Park – Wednesday 11th March 2015

Randwick Council does not yet have “unequivocal” support from all Coogee candidates for its efforts to move the contentious CSELR light rail interchange from High Cross Park to nearby High Street.

Paul Pearce, Labor candidate for Coogee, earned praise for fronting up to last night’s Planning Committee meeting but would not commit his support to the rescue attempt.

The Council responded by resolving to formerly request all identified Coogee state election candidates to declare within seven days their unequivocal support for the High Street move.
Greens Coogee candidate Lindsay Shurey who originally set up the Council’s rescue attempt has already stated her support.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson who moved last night’s urgency motion commented this morning on the evolving situation claiming that Mr Pearce now has a “fiduciary” duty to help the Council. He said,

“State opposition leader Luke Foley has recently committed Labor to continuing the CSELR light rail project. This means that local Labor candidate Paul Pearce now has a fiduciary duty to support Council’s attempt to save High Cross Park by moving the approved interchange to High Street. Not to do so will mean he and Luke Foley will share responsibility with the Coalition for destroying High Cross Park.”

In his address to Councillors last night Mr Pearce stressed that he wanted to protect High Cross Park but would not commit to throwing his weight behind the Council’s identification of High Street as the only possible alternative site.

Councillor Matson is asking why the Labor candidate for Coogee does not yet himself have an identified rescue plan for High Cross Park.

Greens Coogee candidate Lindsay Shurey has lead Randwick Council's efforts to save High Cross Park from a planned light rail interchange.

Greens Coogee candidate Lindsay Shurey has lead Randwick Council’s efforts to save High Cross Park from a planned light rail interchange.

Councillor Matson said,

“It is clear that Labor candidate Paul Pearce does not actually have any plan for how he and Labor will save High Cross Park now that Luke Foley has committed to building the CSELR.

On the other hand the Council does have a detailed rescue plan that it has spent months fashioning with paid consultants and consultation with key stakeholders like POW, the medical practices and TfNSW.”

Councillor Matson says that the best way for the Labor candidate for Coogee to save High Cross Park would be to throw his “unequivocal” support behind the Council’s rescue bid. He pointed out that, under the terms of the Development Agreement it negotiated with Council, TfNSW was obliged to consider the Council’s plans but not necessarily any future proposal from Mr Pearce.

He elaborated,

“Randwick Council staff have done immensely good work in scoping out a detailed plan that TfNSW is obliged to respond to under the terms of the Development Agreement signed with Council. The terms of the Development Agreement are the best cards that the Council has and Paul Pearce should be helping Council to play them.”

Councillor Matson claims that Mr Pearce is “…undermining the Council’s focused effort to save the Park at a crucial stage in the negotiations with TfNSW”. He said further,

“Randwick Council is now co-chairing three specific working groups that TfNSW has set up to look at different aspects of the Council proposition. Council does not need Paul Pearce to be talking about going back to the drawing board and looking for a different solution after polling day.

Council needs Paul Pearce to validate this tremendous effort being performed by his local Council on behalf of the lovers of High Cross Park and to state his full unequivocal support for it.”

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