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Save Our Sport

Council was shocked and disappointed to learn that state government funding for a much-needed recreational precinct at Westleigh Park, incorporating new sports facilities, will be taken back even though work on the project has been underway for a number of years.

Simply put, it is the local community that will miss out. Hornsby Shire is in desperate need of recreational spaces and new sports facilities. The NSW Government's housing targets makes this need even more critical.

The site for Westleigh Park comprises around 36 hectares of cleared open space and bushland. The redevelopment will create a major parkland with spaces for play, sporting activities including football, athletics, rugby, AFL and cricket.

The adopted Westleigh Park Master Plan (PDF 18MB) and Plan of Management (PDF 17MB) propose structured sporting activities on three sporting platforms (providing up to six sports fields) and unstructured passive recreation experiences throughout the park, including:

  • Five sports fields and one athletics track
  • cycling and mountain biking
  • walking paths
  • informal exercise spaces
  • children’s playground and picnic areas
  • connections to local and regional bushwalking trails, and
  • passive recreation spaces.

The project has made substantial progress, with a masterplan and plan of management adopted, detailed plans prepared, and construction due to commence later this year (subject to DA approval).

Sport and recreation promote physical and mental health and bring communities together. The residents of the Hornsby Shire deserve better.

Council is calling on the community to campaign to seek a reversal of the decision and retain the funds.

What you can do to help

Phone icon Ring your local member expressing your disappointment with the decision and request it be overturned.
Write iconWrite to the Ministers and your local Members expressing your disappointment with the decision and request it be overturned.
Share icon Share this with your family and friends and ask them to pledge their support. To ensure greater impact each letter should be personalised and unique.
Pledge iconPledge your support by filling out the form below.

Key Points to highlight in your letter

  • We desperately need additional sports, recreation and open space on the north shore.
  • There is a shortage of sports grounds in the Hornsby Shire and on the north shore.
  • Sport and recreation bring communities together and promote physical and mental health and social cohesion.
  • Lower participation and access to sports and recreation will result in reduced physical activity, loss of social cohesion, and life skills.
  • This park offers us the wonderful opportunity for sportsgrounds, cycling, walking and play.
  • Council has made good progress on this project and construction was due to start later this year, subject to DA approval.
  • The community feels let down by the NSW Government and deserves the facilities it was promised.

Pledge your support to Save Our Sport

 AddressContact
Premier of NSW

Chris Minns

GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001

Contact online

(02) 7225 6000

Tag on Facebook:
@Chris Minns

(84k followers)

NSW Minister for Local Government

The Hon Ron Hoenig MP

GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001

heffron@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9699 8166

Tag on Facebook:
@Ron Hoenig MP

(108k followers)

NSW Minister for Sport

The Hon Steve Kamper MP

GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2001

rockdale@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9597 1414

Tag on Facebook:
@Steve Kamper

(5k followers)

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces

The Hon Paul Scully MP

GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001

wollongong@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 4226 5700

Tag on Facebook:
@Paul Scully MP

(7.5k followers)

Member for Berowra

Julian Leeser MP

Level 11, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

julian.leeser.mp@aph.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9980 1822

Tag on Facebook:
@Julian Leeser MP

(11k followers)

Member for Bennelong

Jerome Laxale MP

32 Beecroft Road
Epping NSW 2121

jerome@jeromelaxale.com

Contact online

(02) 9869 4288

Tag on Facebook:
@Jerome Laxale MP

(10k followers)

Member for Hornsby

Matt Kean MP

Suite 5, The Madison,
25-29 Hunter Street,
Hornsby NSW 2077

hornsby@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9476 3411

Tag on Facebook:
@Matt Kean MP

(11k followers)

Member for Wahroonga

Alister Henskens MP

27 Redleaf Avenue
Wahroonga NSW 2076

wahroonga@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9487 8588

Tag on Facebook:
@Alister Henskens MP

(2.6k followers)

Member for Epping

Dominic Perrottet, MP

Suite 303, Level 3, 51 Rawson Street
Epping NSW 2121

epping@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9877 0266

Tag on Facebook:
@Dominic Perrottet

(40k followers)

Member for Castle Hill

Mark Hodges MP

Suite 1A, 19-21 Terminus Street
Castle Hill NSW 2154

Castlehill@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9686 3110

Tag on Facebook:
@Mark Hodges - Member for Castle Hill

(244 followers)

Member for Parramatta

Donna David MP

PO Box 745
Parramatta NSW 2124

parramatta@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact online

(02) 9891 4722

Tag on Facebook:
@Donna Davis MP

(5.3k followers)

It is with much regret I am writing to let you know Hornsby Shire Council has been informed by the state government it will no longer fund the development of the much-needed recreational facilities at Westleigh Park.

As you are probably aware, work has been underway on this development for over five years, with millions of dollars already outlaid, contracts signed, and thousands of hours devoted to providing our residents with vital sporting facilities.

Council has regularly updated the state government about progress and followed due diligence in meeting all our agreed milestones, so my fellow Councillors and I are struggling to understand the reasons behind this inexplicable decision. Council has cooperated with the state government by accepting additional housing targets above what we already planned for in our Hornsby Town Centre masterplan. The additional housing targets come with the promise of funds for infrastructure, so to take away this already allocated money is ridiculous.

Council was granted $40 million from the previous state government to create these facilities. This was part of $90 million given to us as compensation for the loss of a large part of the southern territory of Hornsby Shire to the City of Parramatta during the council amalgamations.

On behalf of my fellow Councillors, I would like to reassure you that we will do everything possible to still deliver this project, and we will investigate every opportunity to retain these funds which our community deserves.

At this time, we are reviewing our options with our legal team, major stakeholders and fellow Councillors. We will advise residents as we make further decisions.

If you feel passionate about this issue, I encourage you to write to the Premier for New South Wales, the Minister for Sport, the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Planning and your local member – see above for a list of contact details.

Q&A

Hornsby residents and families and those in surrounding areas will be most disadvantaged because the Westleigh Park will provide much-needed recreational facilities for our Shire and the northern area of Sydney. Hornsby Shire Council identified a shortfall of sportsgrounds and general recreational facilities, and with an increasing population, a rise in participation in outdoor recreation, and much more interest in female participation in sports such as cricket, football and AFL, our grassroots sporting organisations and communities will be the ones to miss out.

For decades Hornsby Shire Council has been attempting to address the documented need for additional active open space and recreational facilities for the current and future population of the Shire. Successive studies dating back to the early 2000s have demonstrated an expressed need to increase the level of sportsground provision in Hornsby Shire and have detailed the various constraints to increasing that provision.

Council’s Sportsground Strategy (October 2018) (PDF 15.8MB) estimated a potential gap between future demand (by 2026) and current supply at 40% and proposed that Council should specifically develop new sports facilities at Westleigh Park to help address this demand.  With no change to the current supply, by 2026 there would be a shortfall of sportsground playing surface in the Hornsby Shire Council area of approximately 19.9 Ha. A further review in 2023 by the North Shore Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC) indicated that by 2036 there will be a shortfall of 223 Ha in the northern region and 61 Ha for Hornsby Shire. This is the most meaningful opportunity to address part of that shortfall in the entire northern Sydney region.

The proposed development of Westleigh Park is a direct response to the shortfall and Council had the foresight to purchase the land in 2016 for the provision of additional sportsgrounds.

The previous state government gave $90 million ($50 million for Hornsby Park and $40 million for Westleigh Park) to Hornsby Shire Council as compensation for the loss of a large part of the southern territory of the Shire to the City of Parramatta during the council amalgamations.

An independent financial assessment has confirmed that losing these suburbs, in which Council had invested significantly, has resulted in a net loss of $10 million annually for Council. Further information can be found at https://www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au/council/noticeboard/news/pre-2022/Council-sets-record-straight-on-amalgamation-money

The previous state government specified the funds were to be used to develop the Westleigh and Hornsby Park projects to provide much-needed recreational facilities for the local community.

The original timelines provided to Council were arbitrary and unrealistic given the projects are of such large scale and complexity. Council liaised regularly with the Office of Local Government regarding a suitable timeframe for the delivery of a project of this nature and provided regular updates on progress and achievement of milestones. The timelines were impacted by COVID-19 and the subsequent widespread development and construction industry delays. Council was also required to adhere to due process as it would any other development of this magnitude which can be protracted and takes time. Council has been very careful in its use of funds to maximise the funding available to deliver the facilities for our community.

The state government was regularly updated about progress on this project and and we have followed due diligence in meeting all our agreed milestones. Regular updates have been provided through six monthly reporting, quarterly funding reporting, weekly email updates, as required by the grant agreement. When first receiving the grant Council indicated that the development of the site would extend beyond the state govt nominated period.

The Plan of Management (PDF 17MB) and Master Plan (PDF 18MB) have been adopted, and a DA lodged. The DA is due to be determined in the next few months with construction targeted to commence before the years (2024) end. Detailed design has been completed and tender documents are currently being developed to enable a quick transition to construction following development consent.

The Office of Local Government have requested that Council pay back approximately $36 million by 31 July 2024. Council is currently considering its options.

To continue to meet community expectations for sporting facilities on this site, and its ongoing commitment to investments to date, Council would seek to identify other external funding sources as the cost of the project exceeds Council's ability to fund internally. It would also need to consider other options including delaying or changing the scope and nature of development.

Council will consider any and every option available to.

It is the community that stands to lose out because of this decision. Community members and sports associations can have their voices heard by writing to the Premier for New South Wales, the Minister for Sport, the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Planning and their local member explaining how they will be impacted by this decision. Similarly writing to the federal member for Bennelong, state member for Parramatta Council, registering their need with their own club and state governing bodies.

The grant funds have been held in a secure account dedicated to the project.

No.

Council believes the $50 million grant funding provided for Hornsby Park is not affected. The State Government have indicated that a request for an extension to the Hornsby Park grant has been approved.

  • A lack of space / facility access will lead to increasing numbers of participants being turned away from sport
  • Increasing physical inactivity, sedentary leisure behaviour and related health and disease impacts for the local community
  • Reducing benefits brought about by participation in sport and physical activity including reduced social cohesion, and life skills.
  • With lower participation in sports from reduced access to facilities, there is also a correlation with declining health and overall increase in health cost
  • Existing sportsgrounds are used more intensively, thereby generating conflict between passive and active users
  • Dedicated sports participants will be required to travel further afield for opportunities to access suitable facilities
  • Generational inequity – the previous population had ready access to sportsgrounds for sport, whilst the new generation and incoming populations lacks the same access
  • Over time, under the current population and participation growth trajectory, the gap between sports facility demand and supply, will continue to grow.

Westleigh Park – Site and Concept gallery

Find out more information about Westleigh Park.