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You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Built Environment Plan Phase 2 - Public Housing Estates / Every dog wants a place in the sun as city living becomes an ever-tighter squeeze

Every dog wants a place in the sun as city living becomes an ever-tighter squeeze

Marking their territory … Hunters Hill residents with their dogs at Riverglade Reserve. Park users are worried there is not enough open space to be shared between sporting teams, dog walkers, cyclists and exercise groups reports Eleanor Ainge Roy in the Sydney Morning Herald of 7 November 2011.

ACROSS Sydney, dozens of small-scale wars are being waged over parks and recreational areas as more people choose to forgo a backyard for a city postcode.

Six of the top 10 most densely populated areas in Australia are in Sydney, and the east has the highest population density, with 8800 people per square kilometre.

Parks and recreational areas in new housing developments are also under threat after the pricing regulator said they were acting as a barrier to affordable housing and were imposing ''particularly high costs'' on councils and new home buyers.
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''There is no quick fix when it comes to infrastructure funding for new housing developments,'' the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, said. ''But the NSW government will be working collaboratively with councils to deliver a solution to provision of infrastructure.''

As people move to apartment living, their local parks become ever more important - and competition between users is becoming fraught.

''You would expect to see more disputes over recreational areas as our population continues to increase,'' Nicole Gurran, an associate professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Sydney, said.

''You are getting a whole range of people who would have traditionally had their suburban backyard and they are starting to intermingle … I think a lot of local councils haven't really caught up with this change and are not prepared for it.''

Tess de Quincey, 57, of Hunters Hill, has been a walker in the Riverglade Reserve for 40 years. Mrs de Quincey is engaged in a dispute with Hunters Hill Council over four new soccer fields added since last year and a proposed amenities block on the thin strip of land. She says the council has failed to consult residents and is unfairly favouring sports users of the park.

''Everyone else who uses the park has been marginalised,'' she said. ''Yoga groups, dog walkers and elderly people all use that park and the Saturday soccer games mean the area is overrun with traffic.''

Kim Ellis, who runs the Centennial Parklands Trust, said competition between park users had increased, particularly as cycling and organised sports have become more popular.

In 2005, 5½ million people visited open spaces in the parklands, and this has increased to 6.33 million visitors this year.

''We've got 360 hectares of land and … it's still not enough,'' he said. ''There is a huge pent-up demand for recreational spaces.''

Photo:Wolter Peeters- Hunters Hill residents with their dogs at Riverglade Reserve.
Source: www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/every-dog-wants-a-place-in-the-sun-as-city-living-becomes-an-evertighter-squeeze-20111106-1n1yx.html