Newhaven residents can be excused for feeling befuddled about plans for Grayden Reserve. The overall sentiment persists: this family-friendly park and playground must not be destroyed by a skatepark of the size and status being sought by council and influential pro-skate park forces not from Newhaven.
The claim of community consultation within Newhaven is farcical, as it has merely amounted to local opportunity to participate at the design ‘refinement’ stage.
The choice of the Grayden Reserve location was made by a group largely devoid of both Newhaven (and San Remo) community representation.
As to the composition of this group, well council will not willingly release this, suggesting an FOI application.
I must once again draw attention to 2015 ABS data with Newhaven (population 449) distinctly different to Cape Woolamai (1676 and a much younger population).
The BCSC Skate Park Strategy hierarchy extends from LOCAL to DISTRICT to REGIONAL. Government funding was aimed at the last of these. For Grayden Reserve, the only rational skate facility would surely be a local one – something that the community would surely not object to.
The council meeting 19th August saw skate parks again surface. The word ‘Newhaven’ was never mentioned. The resolution was that a local level park be provided in Kilcunda as priority one and that government approval be sought to delay the serious regional park funding for a year.
The ward councillor who moved for Kilcunda pointed to his serious consultation with that community and for this he is to be commended.
What a pity no such extensive consultation had ever occurred in Newhaven (and before that in San Remo).
In debating the Kilcunda site, the issue of road safety – i.e. crossing the highway should the park be on the seaward side – was appropriately a concern.
This very same issue would apply at Newhaven, since participants arriving by foot or bike would need to cross the road, as would those using public transport for one travel direction.
One would hope that some car parking be provided in Kilcunda. Regional Roads Victoria figures show the traffic flow through Kilcunda is, not unsurprisingly, less than that of the Newhaven corridor.
Maybe much has been happening behind the scene, for whereas the December council meeting settled for Grayden Park for the pre-eminent park, several councillors voiced at the latest meeting that the location of the Regional Skate Park was still to be resolved. Let’s hope commonsense will prevail.
Russell Riseley, Newhaven