Currey Park is on the site of a prior orchard. It is named after Henry Currey, a Chatswood resident and prospector. In 1897 Henry subdivided and sold his land on the corner of Victor Street and Albert Avenue to finance his mining ventures, and dedicated Tingha Street to Council. Tingha is a tin mining town south of Inverell, NSW.
The park was created in response to the increasing development within the Chatswood CBD, so was a less then optimal configuration and location for a park.
The park’s link to the town of Tingha is marked by artist Joe Hurst’s fountain and sculpture of Tingha Woman. The Tingha Woman story is written on a plaque next to the fountain:
The Willoughby-Bingara Friendly City Commemorative Garden commemorates a decade (1995 – 2005) of the Friendly City relationship between Willoughby City Council and the township of Bingara in northern NSW. The garden is dedicated to the former Mayor of Willoughby, John Squire for his dedication to the Willoughby and Bingara communities, and contains plants indigenous to Bingara and Willoughby.
There is also a wooden of an octopus sculpture in the park.
The park runs parallel to the Westfield carpark then does a dog-leg around to Tingha Street.
Mature trees (either on Council operational land or Tingha Park) have been planted in front of the carpark (presumably to provide some visual and acoustic amenity). There is a path through the centre of the park with some mosaic inlay and a number of wooden benches.
Some time ago, Scentre (Westfield) sought approval to extend a portion of the carpark to the east. It appears that there may have been some problems with notifying local residents. Approval was given for the work. Due to the location of the works, a number of trees had to be removed and a worksite was established (with consent) partly within the park. There was some damage to various features of the park. Residents were promised that new trees would replace old and that any damage would be remedied. The main ongoing issues for residents is that now the edge of the carpark is further to the east there is a greater intrusion from vehicles (both noise and light spill.
The vegetation cover in front of the new addition is not yet as dense as in front of other faces of the carpark; This should improve as the trees grow.
In particular, the wall face behind the Tingha Fountain is quite stark. This is likely because there is insufficient width behind the fountain to plant trees.
There are other sections of the park that are quite picturesque.
And some sections not so nice.
An excellent and succinct summary of the history of Currey Park and recent controversy involving Willoughby Council/Scentre Group.
Not all damage to the park and amenities have been remedied. And 2 replacement trees that have died have yet to be replaced.
Council did a very poor job monitoring/supervising Scentre Group during the carpark renovations work. It basically allowed Scentre Group to do as Scentre Group pleased, until and unless the residents or other concerned citizens complained.
Further, it is noted that in its recently released Planning Strategy document for the CBD, Currey Park is not mentioned at all, even though the Park is right on the edge of the CBD. The residents are highly suspicious!
Regrettably, it seems Currey Park is a very low priority to Council.
As it is the closest park to Chatswood CBD and one of the few remaining parcels of green open space in an increasingly urbanized district, it should be treasured and treated with more respect!
Residents may not be aware that Westfield Carpark, adjoining Currey Park, is owned by Willoughby Council and leased by Westfield.
Conflicts of interest could well arise regarding any potential or future Development plans on or over the carpark site should Council not remain at arms length from any process.
The following letter was sent to Council by Clr. Saville on behalf of local residents:
I have received a number of comments from residents in the CBD stressing the high value placed on Curry Park, a small oasis in the busy heart of Chatswood. This small pocket park offers amenity, passive recreation, shade, green space and quiet, for residents and visitors
I have received many inquiries related to the trees and consent conditions. As you know, trees were removed to allow Westfield to extend into the park to increase the number of car spaces.
I understand another tree has died. DA conditions stated 5 trees were to be replaced. Is it true that the officers recommended that only 4 trees were to be replaced?
Can you please clarify the truth?
Mis there any rationale to plant only 4 trees to replace 5 trees?
Surely the conditions of consent should be upheld? How can we ensure accountability and that the consent conditions are upheld?
I know the residents and progress association will be interested.