IN ITS own mind, the South Gippsland Shire Council, the former council that is, has already have decided to sell the Reserve at 3-5 Marine Parade, Venus Bay.
But a number of residents and property owners in the town are far from convinced.
And with the arrival a new council imminent, they have seized the day, and relaunched a campaign to stop the sale of the parcel of land zoned ‘Public Park and Recreation’ (PPRZ).
To that end, 17 people arrived at the park last Sunday, October 23, and declared their intention to stand in the way of council’s income generating plans.
“Yes it is used by local people in the area and yes it is looked after,” said part-time local resident, Debbie Kraushofer.
“If you look around at your parks and reserves in Leongatha and Korumburra, most of them will be zoned PPRZ, that is they have been reserved as parks for community recreation.
“In Venus Bay, not all our reserves are zoned PPRZ so if they can go ahead and sell land that has been set aside for recreation, where does it stop.
“They can sell any of our parks.”
Ms Kraushofer said a local lady, Jill, had planted many of the trees shrubs on the Marine Parade Park and it would be a tragedy if these were lost to the community.
“The park is maintained by residents, it’s full of indigenous trees, a big old kangaroo who visits often to feed on the indigenous grass, flocks of galahs, the occasional wombat and echidna, and this year frogs.
“It’s a simple park, very quiet, but for the wind and birds. It’s beautiful and precious because of its simplicity. No football posts no netball rings, no play equipment; just a place to sit and enjoy the quiet and the local wildlife.”
She said 11 individuals and groups made submissions to council about the park. All submission were passionately against the sale. Zero submissions supported the sale.
“Still council decided to sell the park, and on the 12th of October commenced the process of sale by initiating the removing the reserve status, its PPRZ zoning. There is no more protected zoning than this. So whose parkland is next on the agenda for sale?” Ms Kraushofer asked.
She said Venus Bay had been short-changed by the shire.
“We’ve been so patient and calm and we’ve responded time and time again, over all the years and years that council has been pursuing this agenda, but now we are getting angry. Why would any council that really cared for its community, not listen to it?
“Venus Bay, and other coastal villages for that matter, are not second-class citizens, and we demand our fair share of parks and open spaces.”
Ms Kraushofer and her supporters have asked SGSC, in particular Tim Tamlin, and each of the new councillors to:
• Commence processes to remove this park from sale
• Formally acknowledge that Venus Bay is short of public open space
• Proceed to remove all other public open spaces in the township area of Venus Bay from sale to enable passive enjoyment of plants, animals, the wind, the sun, the stars at night, kids throwing frizbees, dogs prancing etc to continue.
The campaign will be on-going they say.