Dismissing reports half of Sydney's iconic Hyde Park will need to close for 3 months after World Youth Day, Deputy Lord Mayor Tony Pooley said the city could not be a global city "unless we occasionally invite the bloody globe here."
Cr Pooley was commenting on news that at least half of Hyde Park will be closed for up to three months after World Youth Day, to repair the damage caused by thousands of pilgrims treading on the turf.
The State Government will pay at least $100,000 to rehabilitate the grass at Hyde Park North and the British Lawn, which will be used as a security clearance zone for pilgrims waiting to enter St Mary's Cathedral.
A report to the City of Sydney's finance committee has estimated World Youth Day will cost the Council about $2.2 million, a figure that covers extra expenses such as cleaning and staffing, as well as revenue forgone.
Most of Hyde Park North will be inaccessible for normal daily activities during the six day festival, the report said.
"Significant impacts on the turf and plants are expected, and re-turfing will be required. It will take up to three months to return Hyde Park to pre-World Youth Day condition," the report says.
A spokeswoman for the Council said it was unclear if Hyde Park North would be closed altogether during the rehabilitation or repaired in stages.
Hyde Park would be used to house the merchandising stands, toilets and "feeding stations". Wentworth Park in Pyrmont has been earmarked as a "contingency crowd management holding area".
The $2.2 million expected cost to the Council compares to a bill of about $1.5 million for the APEC summit last September.
However the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said the cost and the inconvenience would be worth it.
"In terms of our role as a global city, the world's eyes will be on Sydney and it will promote Sydney," she said yesterday.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Tony Pooley, said: "I don't think we can pretend to be a global city unless we occasionally invite the bloody globe here."
However, councillor Marcelle Hoff, an ally of Cr Moore's, said the Church, not ratepayers, should wear the cost, the paper says.
Papal market to shut park for months (Sydney Morning Herald, 5/5/08)