Mildura Weekly : Friday September 5 Vol 8 No 44
10 OPINION MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 The soapbox Tell us what’s on your mind 10 OPINION 10 OPINION Whose idea is this? Sir, On August 23, through the lo- cal media, the Deputy Mayor John Arnold announced that council would be converting car parks on Feast Street into dining bay spaces. Cr Arnold said three “par- klets” would be established along Langtree Avenue, be- tween Seventh and Eighth Streets, that would convert car parks into platforms for alfresco dining and seating. It appears parts of Mildura’s streetscape will be trans- formed into long-awaited alfresco dining as part of a three-year trial. Four days later in the me- dia the Deputy Mayor was de- fending the ‘parklet’ proposal from heavy criticism. Maybe I am missing something over this whole subject, but I don’t recall any advertised proposals being put forward through the me- dia, by our Councillors, or the Mayor, regarding this venture. Where did this proposal spring from? Was there any community input sought? This whole streetscape venture appears to be the pet project of the Deputy Mayor. No word on this subject has come from other Coun- cillors or our Mayor that I am aware of. To the average resident (like me), this whole idea seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I have a few questions I would like answered, the foremost being: Where did this proposal come from. Whose idea was it? Has planning been sought, and costed, for the proposal? Will the completed plan- ning and costing be put for- ward to the full Council, and advertised through the media for feedback? How does Council justify the loss of precious car park- ing spaces? Ian Felton Mildura Decision a long time coming! Sir, After attending the MRCC meeting on August 28, I was pleased to see that the coun- cil has finally agreed on a site for this much needed and long overdue development. The support for the decision and the project shown by Councillors Eckel and Thor- burn was also welcomed. It was, however, disap- pointing that Councillor Eckel’s efforts to encourage council to lobby local state political party candidates leading into this year’s Vic- torian State Election in order to secure funding was talked down by the Mayor, Council- lor Milne. Councillor Eckel is cor- rect in identifying the lead up to the election as provid- ing the perfect opportunity to lobby for funding for ma- jor projects such as this. As a community we probably have a number of projects that require such funding, but none as urgent as this. I have been involved in indoor sport in this district for more than 30 years. Dur- ing that time I have partici- pated in three major sport- ing facility reviews including the most recent one. The first of these reviews, back in the late 1980s identified the urgent need for a four, bas- ketball-sized court indoor stadium. The consultants rating it near top of the list, instead we built an indoor swimming facility and wave pool* (that ranked lower in priority). Again in the mid-1990s, an indoor stadium ended up high on the list, but the building of the now SJC Sta- dium by a private consor- tium relieved the pressure on the MRCC to act. Now again, after yet another con- sultation we are back where we were 25 years ago, the difference being we now need a much larger facility. Indoor sports in this district (perhaps with the exception of basketball) have been the poor cousins when it comes to MRCC as- sistance. Look around the district at outdoor sports and you will see how well they are catered for with their own playing fields, clubrooms, lighting, kiosks and the like, most provided partly through MRCC fund- ing, and then provided for use at very low cost. This has enabled these sports to develop independently. Yes, they have also been able to contribute financially to developments, but only be- cause they have been able to use facilities at low cost, with club rooms and kiosks providing an extra revenue stream. This is all fantastic for the community and I am not suggesting that these developments should never have happened. All I am sug- gesting is that indoor sports should be treated equitably. Contrast this to the plight of sports such as squash, table tennis, volley- ball, gymnastics, badminton and you will see a different story. Having to share court space, no clubrooms, no ki- osks, being required to com- pete for space with other non-sporting users, required to pay premium prices for court use. and having to change locations are just some of the issues faced. These sports are no dif- ferent to the outdoor sports in that they provide an ex- tremely valuable asset to our community, contributing opportunities for social in- teraction, recreation, fitness development, leadership development, pathways for talented players, coaches and officials to progress and much, much more. Some of these sports can- not even get MRCC grants for facilities because they have no option but to use non- council owned facilities. It is just so hard to believe that in this district our one and only gymnastics club is housed in a shed at Red Cliffs! This is an insult to the club and the people behind it who have worked so hard to provide an extremely successful rec- reational opportunity for the community. On top of improving the delivery of these indoor sports to local residents, such a facility would enable them to attract major events, increasing the sporting tour- ism potential of the region. It would also attract people to live in the town adding to the other marvellous assets and facilities we already have. It is time for action, NOW! These sports have been around for at least 30 years and deserve recogni- tion and support from the current MRCC through the building of a facility that gives them space so that they can grow, develop and continue to offer what is an invaluable service to our community, and more im- portantly a space they can call home. Councillor Eckel is right on the money when he states that the longer we wait, the more such a development will cost. We need to make it happen much sooner than later. *Mildura Waves has proven to be a great asset to this community, just as a well built indoor facility would. Allan Hassell Red Cliffs Poll choice made easy Sir, One thing for sure is that when Arnold Jago speaks people react . His words of support for all things Crisp make our election choice very defined. I know which way it pushes me. Makes a choice simple. Stuart Davie Mildura STRONG SUPPORT: MIldura Rural City Councillor Mark Eckel is a staunch proponent of the indoor sports centre, and spoke in favour of the 16th Street site at the city’s latest monthly meeting. AUSTRALIA’S FASTEST GROWING ACCOUNTING FIRM MILDURA RIVERLAND ROBINVALE (03) 5021 1968 (08) 8582 2211 (03) 5026 3003 www.chan-naylor.com.au Deakin Avenue, Mildura | Phone 5023 0531 www.milduraworkers.com.au JOIN THE MILDURA WORKING MANS CLUB FOR VIP DISCOUNTS! NEW BONUS REWARDS PROGRAM FOR CLUB MEMBERS Present your Workers membership card at participating local businesses and major retailers to receive great offers and discounts! Available at participating stores only. Offers are subject to change Plus many other businesses with great offers and discounts... Get your VIP Directory for full details.
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