Community protests against Camden CBD changes continue

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell
Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

Camden Community Alliance members lined Argyle Street and Camden Valley Way to protest Camden Council’s decision to press ahead with changes to the CBD.

The council released a statement last week announcing work on the changes, which includes narrowing the lanes by one metre each side to widen the footpaths, installing traffic lights at the intersection of Oxley and Argyle streets, and installing new paving and street furniture, would begin this week.

The protesters stood next to signs erected by Camden Council to announce the start date for the works and held up their own signs protesting the council’s decision.

‘‘There were thousands of people who drove past and honked their horns in support,’’ Alliance president Pieter Versluis said.

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

‘‘We are going to continue to appeal to the community to stand up and be counted.’’

Mr Versluis said the alliance had collected another 300 signatures for their petition calling on the council to reopen consultation with the community.

He said many residents in Camden still did not know about the changes, and were horrified when they discovered the council’s plans.

‘‘When we do tell them it is fair to say the average comment is ‘You’ve got to be kidding’,’’ Mr Versluis said.

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

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

‘‘[The announcement] is imbued with the absolutely disregard for the community and the demonstrated arrogance of the council.

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

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.’’

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

Sign of discontent: Members of the Camden Community Alliance took to the streets on Saturday to protest Camden Council’s plans to begin work on the changes to the CBD, despite community opposition. Picture: Charles Cowell

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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