Although I support the development of a significant skate park in the broader area, I am dismayed with the proposal for the Richard Grayden Memorial Park in Newhaven.
The motivation for the “Regional Skate Park and Play Space Project” is so obviously singular, with the playground upgrade seemingly just a ‘sweetener’.
When the San Remo site was chosen, the other site possibilities were rejected and reasons given – including discounting the Newhaven site on which there has now been a complete ‘backflip’.
In defending the proposal, Council’s ‘FAQ’ document responses show they are “hell-bent”, on justifying the project – in-so-doing, reality is being tested.
Certainly, there is wide usage by locals and visitors for play, outdoor meeting and recreation, but that is where my agreement ends.
As for the superficial skate ramp (‘plonked’ on a basketball area), it is only occasionally used by kids, more often on scooters and bikes, with the facility in Boys Home Road largely ignored.
The observation that other skate parks (including Cowes) are heavily used by locals within those townships provides no justification, as Newhaven is small and the demographics distinctively different.
Newhaven is smaller even than the other 3925 communities, with predominantly a mature age population, many retired and few families with children at home. This township has limited capacity to expand.
Of course, the open space will be reduced!
The excision for the roundabout, 1000sq metres for the skate facility, space for competition participants and spectators means the park we know would be seriously reduced and further encroached upon by the exciting extra recreation provisions cited – ‘bouldering, climbing and ‘nature play space.’
Council seems satisfied with the community consultation process. Community consultation opportunities per se have arisen belatedly and seems to be to a repeat of the San Remo fiasco. Do Council officers not learn from such experiences?
Their tactic seems to be: decide on a site, engage consultants, involve proponents from the broader community (but certainly not from within the target community) and only then hold a function and claim the consultation process starts then.
Community consultation should not start then! This ‘cart before the horse’ approach is insulting to a community.
The event at Graydens Reserve on October 22 caught most locals by surprise.
It was door-knocking the previous evening by a couple of residents that alerted the town.
Claims of adequate advertising in local papers, Bass Coast Shire Council’s (BCSC) website and Facebook are questionable – those within the true target area deserved better than this.
Locals value Graydens Reserve. OK – by all means attend to the trees as necessary, periodically update the playground, barbecue area, toilets, incorporate an exciting ‘nature play space’ and maybe even include that little skate ramp – but as to a “Regional Skate Park” No! No! No!
The thrust for Newhaven comes from beyond our town. Surely there’s some better location (Cape Woolamai perhaps).
BCSC should seek to procure a suitable clear site. Starting afresh offers the opportunity to create a truly “Regional Skate Park” – colloquially a ‘win-win’ for all. Since the facility to benefit the whole shire (and beyond) is such a high priority, Council should budget for this and so be it.
It’s a reasonable expectation for common sense to prevail within BCSC. To this point in time, many of their arguments supporting the Grayden Park proposal are unconvincing and seem to defy logic.
Russell Riseley, Newhaven.