A COMMUNITY driven initiative to install fitness stations at the Grantville Memorial Park has been rejected by the Bass Coast Shire Council, much to the dismay of local residents.
Executive members from the Grantville and District Residents and Ratepayers Association (GADRRA) have been applying for funding to install fitness stations, similar to the ones installed along the Inverloch walking track, with five different fitness functions.
Members of the GADRRA suggested the implementation of a fitness station at the Grantville Memorial Park to address issues of poor health, diabetes, and lack of sporting resources in the town.
With approximately $16,000 in funds remaining from the old Memorial Park Committee, the GADRRA would have been able to pay for the majority of the fitness station by themselves, and applied for minor funding from the council.
The group has refuted the council’s claims that the project needed more planning and community consultation.
“We are so disappointed,” said Helen Zervopoulos, GADRRA executive member.
“However what was most upsetting was the reasons given for our lack of success were completely untrue.”
In a letter from the council’s manager of Community Strengthening Antoinette Mitchell, the GADRRA was asked to seek advice for further project planning before applying again for a future Community Grants round.
David Elder, general manager for Healthy Communities at the council, noted that the applications for community grants had been particularly competitive this round.
“This application needed further planning and community consultation, it was unsuccessful. Council believes the concept has merit, but we are also aware that some members of the community do not support fitness stations in the Memorial Park.
“We’ve had our recreational planner and coordinator working closely with the group to investigate the fitness station idea.
“The council is not unsupportive of this project, and appreciate the effort that the group has gone to.
“But we’re also respectful of the fact that the park is a memorial park. We are not saying no, we’re just saying to pause for a moment and get the support of the wider community.
“Council will continue to assist the applicant.”
But Ms Zervopoulos said the group has consulted extensively with the community.
According to the GADRRA, members of the group met at the Grantville Memorial Park on several occasions and had great support and assistance from council officer Mark Lindsay when discussing the plans.
“Mark also did extensive research on the types of equipment that would best suit these coastal conditions, and even went as far as to identify an appropriate supplier and got a quote from them,” Helen said.
“I am afraid that the decision to deny us the grant was politically motivated and not because we didn’t do adequate community and council consultation.”
A survey was also circulated within the Grantville community by the GADRRA, with 43 responses and only one objection to the fitness station idea.
“This park is where mothers meet to let their children play, and it would have been great to be able to use the park to keep fit and to work out,” Kat Cox said.
“There’s no gymnasium in town, and while there is a weekly one hour workout class held in Grantville, I need more than an hour a week to stay healthy.”
Applications for the next round of Community Grants are currently open and close for assessment on Friday, August 12.
Grantville’s fitness kicked