THE good news is that several projects in Foster, Korumburra, Mirboo North and Venus Bay will each get a share of the $1.6 million made available by the former South Gippsland Shire Council under an innovative ‘Community Capital Works Allocation Project’.
But were they the right projects?
That’s the $400,000 question that community groups and individuals in each of those four towns will now have to ponder.
But a lone voice, at the final Korumburra project selection meeting last Thursday night, Neil Coxon, has already labelled the selection process as fatally flawed and not representative of the community.
His comments could be equally relevant to process undertaken in each of the other three towns.
“I’m not saying the projects they voted for aren’t good projects, they are. I just don’t think they are representative of the whole community, either in the online part or at the meeting.
“Take the Korumburra Recreation Centre for example. There’s nothing wrong with the project but they had four people at the meeting so that’s 28 votes straight away. The young guy (Chris Amor) who spoke eloquently in favour of renovating the courts at the tennis club had no one else there to vote.”
And Mr Coxon said there were plenty of other groups in the community not represented at all.
“I don’t think it’s been made clear that there was $400,000 at stake, that’s all.”
Neil Coxon is president of Milpara and a member of the Korumburra Arts Group but he was not representing either of those organisations on the night.
But the reality is, that online over the past few months and at community workshop meetings in each of the four towns in the past week, those who turned up have made their choices and the nominated projects will now go forward to the new council for a decision at the December 14 council meeting.
This meeting is open to the public and individuals can organise to make a presentation to council when the agenda is released.
But as the shire CEO Tim Tamlin said recently, it would be a brave council that went against community sentiment.
The recommendations provided by each community was as follows:
• Foster: Allocate $400,000 to implementing a recycled water infrastructure project at the Foster Showgrounds and Foster Golf Club.
• Korumburra: Allocate $175,000 to upgrades at the Korumburra Recreation Centre, $175,000 to upgrades at the Korumburra Recreation Reserve, $25,000 to begin a skate park/youth hub and $25,000 to picnic zones including a rotunda with barbeque facilities at the west entrance to the town.
• Mirboo North: Allocate $300,000 to master planning at Baromi Park and implementing resulting infrastructure including a skate park and sound shell, and $100,000 to improve footpath connections to the town centre.
• Venus Bay: Allocate $200,000 to upgrading the Venus Bay Lifesaving Club and $200,000 to wildlife and environment protection.
As both recommendations provided by Foster and Venus Bay included some assets that were not on Council owned land, alternative options have been provided in their community report for Council to consider if the original recommendations are not feasible.