Spread across bushland, including Ku-ring-gai Chase and Berowra Valley National Parks, is the fast-growing suburb of Mount Colah. One of the most northerly and elevated Sydney suburbs, Mount Colah is also on the traditional lands of the Guringai people and home to families from many different backgrounds. This rich diversity embedded in Mount Colah’s geography and history is a quality that our grassroots community group is passionate about acknowledging and celebrating.
The Friends of Mount Colah (FOMC) is a group of local residents, businesses, and organisations volunteering to bring the community together to create and maintain a stronger, more connected, dynamic and inclusive Mount Colah.
FOMC came into existence in April 2015 following the successful Mount Colah Mingle event held at Mount Colah Community Centre on National Neighbour Day, which was organised by the community in conjunction with Hornsby Council. Inspiration for the Mingle came about when several locals visiting Mount Colah Pharmacy & Post Office expressed concerns about a suicide in the suburb in 2014, commenting that no one should ever feel alone and isolated – something had to be done to prevent such sad incidents.
Mount Colah, considered by some as “Sydney’s Best-Kept Secret,” is firmly located in the fast lane – along the busy Pacific Highway, intercity rail corridor, and next to the pulsing M1, plus being a key site for the NSW State Government’s push for higher density housing. You only have to look around our suburb to see numerous “For Sale” and Development Approval signs outside properties – often in rows. The demolitions have well and truly begun, bringing with them the winds of change for Mount Colah, as well as for other neighbouring suburbs similarly experiencing increasing development, like Asquith.
Ultimately, it is up to us as members of this community to determine whether this change means the end of the Mount Colah as we know it – the one that we decided to locate to for various reasons, whether this be affordability, proximity to the CBD and Central Coast, or the peaceful bush setting – or we take it as a catalyst to adapt, using the projected larger population numbers to help grow into a more robust and resilient community with a bigger voice, sense of belonging, and greater opportunities to offer and enjoy.
It is time to balance physical construction with social investment. FOMC recognises that the physical, emotional, and mental well being of individual members can also determine the wellness of a community as a whole. We promote social engagement, connection to place, sense of responsibility, security, and trust through utilising existing public spaces in the area to host regular mini-Mingles, as well as supporting other local events and programs. We aim to reach out and link people with existing support services and products that suit their needs, using our Facebook page as an information and communication portal.
Mariko Smith is the 2016 Chairperson of the Friends of Mount Colah group.
Contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook “Friends of Mount Colah”