Alliance to protest beginning of works on Camden CBD changes

Members of the Camden Community Alliance protest at a June 14 rally against Camden Council's planned changes to the Camden CBD. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
Members of the Camden Community Alliance protest at a June 14 rally against Camden Council's planned changes to the Camden CBD. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Members of the Camden Community Alliance will protest Camden Council’s decision to push ahead with controversial CBD changes tomorrow.

Alliance president Pieter Versluis said members of the alliance would be protesting next to the council’s signs informing residents about the changes at either end of Argyle Street from Saturday morning.

‘‘The bottom line is we’re not just going to sit back and let council proceed with their juggernaut,’’ he said.

‘‘We will have people meet near the softball field [across from Trattoria La Vigna] at 7.30am in the morning and have people demonstrating at the sign with signs saying we don’t want to see the destruction of our heritage; we don’t want the council to destroy the town.’’

There have been howls of protest since Camden Council’s announcement that work on changes to the Camden CBD will begin next week.

Members of the Camden Community Alliance, which has strenuously opposed the council’s plans for Camden and called for further consultation, have pledged to continue their campaign.

Mr Versluis said the announcement, and the appearance of signs informing the community of the intended works, had upset a lot of people.

‘‘[The announcement] is imbued with the absolutely disregard for the community and the demonstrated arrogance of the council,’’ Mr Versluis said.

‘‘I think the reaction will be relatively severe.’’

Mr Versluis said the council had shown a ‘‘disregard’’ for the community and the effort they and the alliance had put in to trying to get their point across to the council.

‘‘The council expects the alliance and all the members of the community will have a lie down and let them do what they want,’’ he said.

‘‘The people are not going away - they are going to react and will seek to ensure these changes do not happen.’’

The works include the creation of a new intersection with traffic lights at Oxley and Argyle Street, increasing the footpath width by one metre either side of the street by narrowing the land widths as well as new street furniture and footpath pavers.

Pedestrian signals will also replace the zebra crossing on Argyle Street between John and Hills streets.

Camden Council released a statement on Wednesday, July 8, stating ‘‘state 1A works between Oxley and John streets is intended to commence next week for completion by mid-November 2015.

‘‘Stage 1B works between John and Hill streets is expected to take place between January and June 2016.’’

Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak said the council had ‘‘a responsibility to plan for increased capacity in the pedestrian and traffic network of the Camden town centre’’.

‘‘The works are about basic infrastructure and safety upgrades,’’ she said in the statement.

‘‘There are no changes to any heritage feature of the town centre.

‘‘The upgrade will refresh the town centre, make it easier to get around and provide a safer main street for pedestrian and drivers.’’

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