Thursday, February 22, 2024

Council action saves veterans park from ‘inappropriate’ billboard

Willoughby Mayor, Tanya Taylor, has welcomed a decision by the NSW Government to scrap plans for a digital billboard which she says would have had a “highly inappropriate visual impact” on a Chatswood garden commemorating local war veterans.

The 12.5m x 3.95m sign was proposed by Sydney Trains on the Albert Avenue overpass at Chatswood.

The sign would have been alongside the Chatswood Garden of Remembrance, which commemorates the men and women from the Willoughby district who died during the Boer War, World War I, World War II, and in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam.

“This garden is a place of quiet contemplation and remembrance of our war dead, and it would have been unthinkable to see it impacted by this garish sign,” Mayor Taylor said.

“I am pleased to see the Council’s advocacy, along with a strong reaction from community members including local veterans, has helped preserve this sensitive, beautiful and historically important place in the middle of the Chatswood CBD.

“I also thank Willoughby MP Tim James for his vital advocacy within government on this sensitive matter, and West Ward Councillor Jam Xia for raising and pursuing this matter within the Council.”

Garden of Remembrance rejected digital sign

The sign was approved by the NSW Government in April 2022, following an assessment by the Department of Planning and Environment.

Willoughby City Council staff lodged an objection to the advertising sign in early 2021 when the sign’s development application was exhibited.

The Council then unanimously voted in May 2022 to write to the Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott, and Willoughby MP Tim James, to again object to the sign.

Yesterday, Mr James announced the sign would be halted.

The garden provides a place to reflect at any time of year on the sacrifices made by service men and women.

The gardens were laid out in 1950, and the first Anzac Day service was held there in 1955. The Cross of Remembrance was erected on the grass mound and the gardens were dedicated on Anzac Day 1964.

More information about the Garden of Remembrance is available here – www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Residents/Parks-and-recreation/Parks-reserves-and-playgrounds/Garden-of-Remembrance

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