IN THE end, the $400,000 question for the Mirboo North community didn’t need to be answered last Wednesday night, not in words anyway.
About half of the people in the old shire hall voted with their feet, when asked by the conveyor of the final Community Capital Works Project meeting, Matthew Gordon, to move to the table that represented the project of their choice.
It wasn’t the project voted number one on the South Gippsland Shire’s ‘Our Say’ website: ‘To refurbish the Mirboo North Pool as per the community plan (solar heating, lights and expanded parking)’ that got the nod.
It wasn’t exclusively the number two project on the list that got the money, ‘to increase and improve footpath connections to the town centre’, although the community did decide to contribute $100,000 of their $400,000 to those works.
And the idea of creating a larger vehicle parking area for caravans and trucks close to the CBD didn’t get up either.
It was a combination of the ideas ranked four and five in the online ‘Our Say’ process that attracted most interest, and ultimately $300,000 of the funding.
Having decided how they want to spend ‘their money’, the project will go back to the council to be finalised but according to CEO Tim Tamlin, it would be a brave council that voted for a project other than the one nominated last Wednesday night.
After master planning, an affordable combination of the following two options has been supported by the community:
Option #4: To build an amphitheatre/stage area in Baromi Park, fitted out with AV equipment for everyone to hire. A series of concerts, films and events could be organised at the venue. It could also be used for events including the Arty Gras and Blessing of the Bikes.
Option #5: Construct a public toilet in the vicinity of the playground, with seating and a covered area near the playground. Erect a basketball ring in the park and also a new skate park (the existing park has had its day). And a few more park benches on Ridgway, especially near the pub and supermarket.
The night took the form of workshop groups around tables in the Mirboo North Shire Hall, with about 50 local people in attendance and several shire officers including community strengthening coordinator Ned Dennis and engineer Paul Challis providing guidance about what was possible and what delivered best value.
Mr Dennis said the community need not consider that the $400,000 was needed to save the local pool. He said the future of the pool had already been assured and council was committed to spending $2 million to do all the essential work.
“The pool is not at risk,” he said.
“But $3.5m to $4m would be needed to achieve all the things that the community wants,” he said, noting that there was a pool planning meeting coming up soon.
In support of including some element of footpath improvement, Paul Challis said there was $165,000 of footpath projects designed and ready to go.
There’s little doubt though, that the presence of a significant number of teenagers in the hall helped get a redevelopment of the skate park over the line as part of the proposed improvements to Baromi Park.
The final voting on the projects at the Mirboo North meeting was as follows: Pool 20, paths 26, Baromi Park 80, and long bay parking 14.
“In the end the group was happy to support the Baromi Park idea – master planning (either new or a revision of previous) and provision of infrastructure based on the planning outcomes but didn’t want to use the whole $400,000 for that. So they widened their scope by allocating $100,000 to footpaths,” said a spokesperson for the shire.
Skating away with Mirboo North money