THE timing is finally right for councillor Jess Jennings' goal of a masterplan vision for McPhillamy Park.
After failing to get the support in July 2021, he was able to get a favourable resolution out of council last week to immediately develop the master plan and deliver a conservation management plan for the area in the 2022-23 budget.
The conservation management plan will give consideration to several items, including that the 10 acres Mrs McPhillamy gifted in 1938 be formally recognised as public parkland and be reclassified as community land under the Local Government Act.
It will also consider reopening the land impacted by the previously proposed go-kart facility, and the potential installation of informative signage to advise all visitors to McPhillamy Park of the future plans and progress timeline for giving the park back to the people of Bathurst.
After facing opposition last year, Cr Jennings went into last week's meeting hoping that the new council make-up would work in his favour.
This time, the motion was passed with six votes, with councillors Warren Aubin, Graeme Hanger and Ian North voting against it.
Cr Jennings said the purpose of the notice of motion was to get McPhillamy Park in the policy documents for council "in order to be able to create a better environment up there and utilise it in ways that have not yet been thought through".
He said it was important to get the plans in the budget for the new financial year.
"If we don't do something about this in this coming operating year - and just say, by some miracle, the master plan and conservation management plan does go into the following year - then you're talking about another year or so for it to actually be delivered," Cr Jennings said
"So that's 2023-24. And then you'd be talking about somewhere in the 2024-25 year where you might actually start to see some money being spent up there in accordance with the community's interest."
Councillors Kirralee Burke and Marg Hogan also spoke at the meeting to indicate their support for the motion.
"Cr Jennings' motion tonight gives us a structured way to move forward and deliver one part of that [council vision] for the region, a masterplan vision statement and conservation management plan for the area generally known as McPhillamy Park," Cr Hogan said.
Cr Jennings estimates the conservation management plan would cost $300,000 to develop, with more funds needed to carry out an actions identified in the plan.
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