Myth - The Green Space will be Enhanced
Under Option 1, the existing grassy reserve at the centre of Thompson Square will change configuration (into a long, thin rectangular strip of lawn). The Updated Question and Answers dated August 2012 state that, as a result, the reserve will gain an additional 500 square metres of open space. An Olympic pool is 1,250 square metres. This means that the reserve will gain roughly one third of an Olympic swimming pool. This means that the amount of usable space gained is nominal.
However, any additional usable space will be offset by the changed traffic conditions. The reserve will be at the same level (and at some points even sit below) the new approach road. The traffic noise and pollution experienced by a person in the reserve will be of such a magnitude that it will be uncomfortable and unpleasant to frequent. It will be unusable for public amenity. RMS documents prove that the noise level will likely be in excess of OH&S standards and will require a shielding wall of some description. At present the noise levels experienced in the reserve are barely tolerable because the existing approach road is largely below the level of the reserve.
As part of the Conditions of Approval, the RMS has to create an Urban Design and Landscape Plan. The proposed three-level terrace is not supported by the Department of Planning, so to maintain the project objective of linking the town to the riverfront, excavation of the reserve would be required. This would result in a sloping green space, effectively rendering the area unusable for picnics, community events or festivals. A rumour of an amphitheatre is unfounded.