GALLERY: Camden Community Alliance protesters remain defiant despite setback

THE Camden Community Alliance has said it has no intention to fold despite its unsuccessful appeals to the state government to stop works in Argyle Street.

The lobby group’s plea to Local Government Minister Paul Toole to intervene in its dispute with Camden Council to stop the unpopular Camden town centre changes has come to naught.

‘‘What the minister has told the Alliance is if we have an issue with council, we should raise it with council,’’ president Pieter Versluis said.

‘‘Of course that is disappointing. I am not of the view that the state government cannot do anything.’’

Mr Versluis said Camden MP Chris Patterson’s comment to the Advertiser last week that there wasn’t more his government could do was also disappointing.

‘‘He is saying that as a local member he is powerless to represent members of the community and that is unfortunate,’’ he said.

‘‘However, his encouragement that we should not pack up is vital.

‘‘We will continue to represent the views of the community and the community has clearly demonstrated they don’t want these changes.’’

Mr Versluis said the removal of three jacaranda trees from the median strip last week to make way for traffic lights was just a ‘‘minor setback’’

‘‘Council has described these as minor works so this is just a minor setback,’’ he said.

Camden Community Alliance members protested on the side of Camden's main street as workmen moved in to start removing plants from the median strip.

The members held up protest signs and encourage passed motorists to honk their horns in protest as the process of removing the shrubs from the middle of Argyle Street began.

The works are part of Camden Council's plans to revamp the Camden CBD, including narrowing the four lanes of road by one metre on each side, building a decked car park in front of the Camden Civic Centre in Oxley Street and laying new footpath pavers.

The council will also create a new signalised intersection at Oxley and Argyle streets which will require the removal of four jacaranda trees.

Mayor Lara Symkowiak has previously said the trees will be replanted elsewhere.

The Camden Community Alliance has led a huge groundswell of community opposition to the changes and has repeatedly called on the council to hold off on the works to allow for more community consultation.