Alma gives lesson in community activism

2015-09-16 07.50.34Alma McPherson is the toast of Gerringong, as her campaign to save the Council land adjacent to the Uniting Church on Fern St has succeeded.

Since hearing of the possibility that the land might be sold off, she has worked tirelessly for 18 months to make sure it didn’t happen.

Not one to be fobbed off with assurances that there would be time for community consultation later in the process, Alma enlisted the help of local businesses to collect 3000 signatures, mostly from local residents, against the proposal.

“I was trying to nip it in the bud so that Council wouldn’t have to go to the expense of moving it to the next level,” she says. “I was upset that Council would even think about selling off such a well loved and used bit of community space.”

Alma, has lived in Gerringong for 13 years and had holidayed down here for twenty years prior to that. Surprisingly she doesn’t attend that Uniting Church.

Her dogged determination was such that when she found out on the Friday before that the proposal to sell off one or two blocks of land was coming at the September Council meeting, she caught the train back from an appointment at North Shore Hospital to speak at the Public Access meeting.

Council now plans to do some minor landscaping and dedicate the land as the Arthur Campbell Reserve, in honour of the former mayor and one of Gerringong’s favourite sons.

This is the second time that Alma has been involved with saving a reserve.

“When they were preparing for the Olympics a park at Georges Hall, near the Velodrome, was going to be made into a car park,” she says. “We pointed out there was just no need for it in the longer term.”

The Blackwood Street reserve behind the RFS in Gerringong was saved by another group of concerned residents earlier in the piece.


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