I am writing to councillors in regard to the skate park project in Wonthaggi.
I am aware that the Bass Coast Shire Council has changed sitting members many times over the years, so I would like to give a brief outline of what has transpired, in the past.
Firstly, I would request that the toilets be open daily as was the deal with the council many years ago. I have written to the new CEO regarding this public health issue to no avail.
A long time ago the skate club raised funds to help get the project started and along with 11 other businessmen and myself, we went in a fundraiser with a nude calendar shoot to raise funds, and then I started a petition, asking the council to just borrow the funds on ratepayers’ behalf and I tabled a petition with 7600 signatures to this effect.
I had the public support, the funds were found and Stage 1 of the project was borne.
Some of the public weren’t happy with the park’s position, and let me know about this as the council had wanted to build it in the Rotary park in the main street.
I had argued to get it built in its current position, and the objectors became supporters.
I had a deal with the kids to respect what they had and look after the park and I would try to get the rest built.
It is a credit to the kids that they have kept their end of the bargain.
A short time later I had an idea and had asked my friends if they would help build the rest of the park, like a community project similar to Apex and Rotary.
The response everywhere was overwhelming, with people wanting to donate their time and machinery and materials.
Except the council had other ideas and informed me that they were doing a review of the draft overlay plan for the whole recreation facility, and for me to make a submission to the authority doing the plan.
I wasn’t that happy because I thought the money would be better spent on the park.
My submission to the plan included such things as a BMX track, a grandstand, picnic facilities, shelter, swings, a wishing well, jumping air trampoline, a foam stunt pit, drinking fountains, monkey bars, lighting, graffiti walls, free barbecues, etc.
I have recently seen the draft plan document, and will note that the skate park Stage 2 development was ticked as priority, and I agree strongly with the recommendation of the relocation of the croquet club to beside the tennis court that will give the park so much more land to utilise.
Federal funding in the form of community grants is now available and we have until November 21 to apply for funding in round one.
The funding is matched dollar for dollar in kind, and is made in progress payments as the project progresses.
I have political support on the application that will be documented if it progresses.
I believe there is something lacking in Wonthaggi and I’d say it’s community spirit.
With this park it’s a chance to rekindle that Wonthaggi spirit and make a world class facility for all our families and visitors alike to enjoy.
The economic benefits will flow on from here, with out of towners coming to shop and drop their kids off at the park.
I’m sure if I ran another petition that we would exceed the last amount of signatures easily, so it’s now over to you councillors and at least now you have a brief understanding of the skate park history.
Maybe we can apply for a grant to tart up the Wonthaggi entrance in another application.
Michael Gardner, Wonthaggi.