Disappointment with council’s determination to create a regional (?) skate park within Newhaven’s Richard Grayden Memorial Park intensifies by the day.
The BCSC Skate Park Strategy states the characteristics of a regional level park.
With the San Remo proposal being aborted, the BCSC News, March 29, 2019, clearly stated: “Council is determined to deliver a regional skate park and playspace project as identified in its Skate Strategy 2018.”
In a BCSC News item of December 16, following the Newhaven announcement, Mayor Cr Tessari triumphantly announced “…a great outcome and will provide a fantastic community asset, for everyone to enjoy”. Well Mr Mayor, the reality would be far from this.
The motion to authorise Grayden Park for this regional facility was moved by a Western Port ward councillor.
In speaking to the motion, there was no focus on “regional”.
This is a far cry from the defined ‘regional’.
Well, the steering group recommended [a site] but councillors could have used more “grey matter” in evaluating this.
At an earlier time, at a huge meeting of disgruntled San Remo residents, a ward councillor agreed to make known the composition of this steering group.
A response was long-coming. In a first feeble attempt, a council officer presented a list of organisations – including the San Remo Recreation Committee (not involved) and the San Remo Concerned Residents Group (not created at that stage). How absurd!
Furthermore, BCSC (Bass Coast Shire Council) officers have refused to divulge actual steering group membership (beyond numbers and broad location) and suggested an FOI application.
Council did not learn from the San Remo experience – the paucity of communication largely being replicated.
To be fair, council claims to have recently lettered all Newhaven residents to advise them of the sessions in Newhaven on March 10. This would have been council’s first such Grayden Park notification.
This attempt seems to have been unsuccessful, and what Australia Post did with these is a mystery. No posters were displayed by council within Newhaven – but two were by a local resident.
The proactive Newhaven Residents Group, realising the council letter drop had not occurred, compiled and distributed its own notification of the council sessions on March 10. This was purely an unbiased notification.
In preparing for the 2pm session, council somewhat acceded to the request for the marking out of Grayden Reserve.
There were pegs to show the bowls, periphery, pathways and playspace with the small residual being green space.
Note that in an earlier FAQ response, council had claimed that the amount of green space would be preserved (a disingenuous claim, surely).
What people wanted were line markings with clear area labelling. At least one council participant agreed this would be done. Admittedly, retaining the pegs would have been unsafe, but no line marking was done and by the following day, there was almost nothing to show.
The substantial loss of open areas for play/games/picnicking, etc., was queried at a later consultation session.
A participant, presumably a skater from the steering group, had the temerity to suggest signage should be displayed directing the community and visitors to the soccer/cricket field in Boys Home Road.
To make this absurdity worse, the chairing council officer agreed, adding that the Boys Home Road field was seldom used (what rubbish) and there were other spots (to which one could be relegated). How unprofessional! In true Aussie vernacular, this whole suggestion amounts to “just b—-r off.”
Is it any wonder that the majority of Newhaven residents are befuddled and angry?
They are not against a small skate facility, but the domination and destruction of the park for a skating facility which is also inconsistent with the Skate Strategy is sad and shorted-sighted. Look for a suitable site, council, and conform to your skate strategy!
Russell Riseley, Newhaven.