Very disappointingly, in proposing the redeveloping of this site, the NT Government mandated that 20% of its area must be used up by residential blocks to pay for the cost of the park. In a compromise response to local consultation, the NT Government will move these proposed residential apartments away from the Lambell Terrace (Larrakeyah) side, where they would have overlooked houses. However, it will not reduce their height. Through public consultation on the draft design, the public opted for a more natural and less costly park, with an easier to maintain design, than the interstate consultants promoted. It was hoped this reduced cost would lower the height and mass of the apartment buildings ‘required’ to cover costs. There are some nice features in the park. The basic design was settled early in 2009, after a report from government appointed local cultural consultant Dr Mickey Dewar.
Historically Flagstaff Park is a distinct area beyond the fence at the end of Myilly Point. This is where the NT Army Commander, and later Mr Justice Blackburn, lived in Flagstaff House, before Cyclone Tracy blew it away in 1974. There remain relics of a large tropical garden with tennis courts and flagpole. It is a beautiful site, with high harbour views and natural breezes.
When the NT Government decided on parkland in the central section of Myilly Point, it threw in Flagstaff Park with the rest, as if it had no special historical significance. Local consultant GHD, provided a layout for on-line public comment. It had a list of numbered features on the plan with a key. Surprisingly, a site for restaurant was, without explanation, mysteriously superimposed. It took the prime landmark viewing site looking towards East Point, and was not included in the GHD numbering.
Flagstaff Park was zoned in the time of the previous government for Tourist Development (B5). Beginning in about 1999, a community group, familiar with the site, worked with PLan to have the area recognised and rezoned as a landmark headland park, for public recreation and picnics. When the ALP won government in 2001, Chief Minister Clare Martin fulfilled an ALP election promise, publicly announcing that the park was saved from tourist development. She announced the return of this park to the people. Flagstaff Park was then rezoned as public open space.
PLan waited patiently through years of delays between the government and Darwin City Council about who should pay for and manage this neglected park for the People.
It is outrageous, in the face of the ALP government’s election promise, that any attempt is made to superimpose a large restaurant site on the park, by business interests. A promise is a promise! This would change the prime usage of the park back to tourism, with traffic making it unsafe for children. The restaurant could easily be located, as we have suggested, with equally good views to East Point, in the middle section of the Myilly Point park.
So frequently PLan, now in its sixteenth year, finds previously made promises and public expectations are being ignored or eroded.