City of Greater Bendigo responds to Heathcote playground placement concerns.BARBARA SUNGAILA July 9, 2014 3:31am
The City of Greater Bendigo has responded to the Heathcote Lions Club’s position on the proposed playground redevelopment in Barrack Reserve.
In a letter to the McIvor Times last week, Lions member Greg Speirs asked Heathcote residents to reject moving the playground closer to the toilets and visitor centre.
His concerns included the costs involved, disruption to the markets and other events, proximity to the toilet block and the alternative site being unfenced, unlike the current site, which is fully enclosed.
COGB engineering and public space manager Brett Martini said the council had started community consultation on the playground upgrade in April.
‘‘During this consultation questions were raised by the community about whether the current play space site is located in the best part of Barrack Reserve,’’ Mr Martini said.
‘‘As a result of the consultation an alternate location has been suggested.
‘‘This site is located closer to the Visitor Information Centre, public toilets, other existing recreation facilities, including the swimming pool and local food outlets.
‘‘Regardless of which site is ultimately preferred by the community, both sites are proposed to feature the exact same equipment.’’
Mr Martini said the alternate play space proposal also included the development of a partial barrier fence opposite the Northern Hwy.
‘‘If the play space is constructed in the alternate location the old play space would be removed and that area returned to park land.
‘‘However the existing barbecue facilities and shelter would remain in place.
‘‘This work is estimated to cost an additional 10 per cent of the total project budget and not two to three times the total cost of the upgrade as suggested by Mr Speirs.
‘‘The proposed play space has been designed to be constructed in accordance with funding commitments from the City, Bendigo Bank and Heathcote Lions Club.
‘‘Locating play spaces close to toilet facilities is common practice, in fact five of the City’s top playgrounds are located close to public toilets.
‘‘Further, the Heathcote police have not experienced any undesirable behaviour associated with the Visitor Information Centre toilet facility.’’
Mr Martini said if an alternate site was chosen, signage would reflect the Lions association and funding support with the play space.
He said the City was asking residents to look closely at what was being proposed and decide which site they believed was most appropriate according to the facts presented in the consultation brochure.
Mr Speirs said he did not believe council figures on the proposed playground move.
‘‘I’m an engineer and I know how much it will cost to remove the sprinkler systems, power leads etc,’’ he said.
‘‘$100,000 (the amount currently allocated to the project) won’t even come close and it won’t put the equipment in.’’
Mr Speirs said the Lions petition to keep the redeveloped playground on the current site had received between 700 and 800 signatures.
‘‘We’ve had an extraordinary amount of support,’’ he said.
Mr Martini also said the 2009 Barrack Reserve Master Plan recommended discussion with the community about the location of the playground.
But Mr Speirs said the playground’s location had been raised 12 months ago and he believed a final decision to leave the playground in its current location was made at that time.
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