Years after the public push began to reopen Old Sydney Town, group spokesperson and independent candidate for Gosford Mr Jake Cassar is calling on the State Government to take on the cause on behalf of the Central Coast community and NSW.
“We’ve had support from some ‘high places’ but they basically expect our nonprofit community organisation to make it all happen,” said Mr Cassar. “While I’m very keen to support in any way I can, our group is a lobby group and is not in a financial position to get Old Sydney Town up and running. “I find it quite frustrating that our elected leaders seem to be displaying a lack of vision here and have shown little genuine interest. “Before the last Federal election, the then Federal Member for Robertson, Deb O’Neill, made some noise about reopening Old Sydney Town, but since seems to have abandoned the cause. “I not only believe our community wants to see Old Sydney Town reopened and revitalised, but I feel like the Central Coast needs this boost to tourism and to our economy. “The community support is evidenced by our parliamentary petition with over 11,500 signatures from Central Coast residents who passionately support maintaining our cultural identity, while bringing hundreds of jobs to our local area. “I’m concerned that if we can’t get the Government to take this cause seriously in this election year, that eventually support might fade. “I find it quite embarrassing that there are plans to build a Chinese cultural theme park in Warnervale, while Old Sydney Town, Australia’s cultural heritage, remains in foreign hands. “I would like to see all tiers of government and all sides of politics get behind this initiative, which will help to maintain our community’s sense of cultural identity while bringing hundreds of jobs back to the Central Coast. “I propose to introduce social justice type programs led by local tradespeople to restore the park, with a focus on teaching and mentoring some of our most struggling local youth and other individuals. “This would equip participants with valuable trade skills to help them gain self-esteem, selfconfidence and ultimately employment within our community. “With the long term sustainability of the park in mind, I also propose to have annual festivals on the site, and on the outside of the site, a historical and Indigenous cultural museum, camp grounds with free barbecues, a motorhome park, an Australian themed swimming area called The Billabong and a drive-in movie theatre that focuses on showing Australian films. “I strongly believe this plan would enable the new Old Sydney Town to remain sustainable well into the future, revitalising local tourism and creating jobs in trades and maintenance, catering, security, hospitality, live entertainment and transport. “Our group has looked closely at the business models for similar cultural themed enterprises, such as Timbertown at Wauchope and Sovereign Hill in Victoria, and with the support from local volunteers, and ensuring there is State school curriculum specific activities, these iconic places are not only able to survive, but they are able to thrive,” Mr Cassar said.
16 Mar 2015
Independent candidate for Gosford