New park work after long wait

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WORK has started on Mornington’s long-awaited Gateway Park on the corner of Barkly and Gordon streets.

The park was first proposed in the Mornington Structure Plan of 2007 along with several other public spaces.

At one stage the shire erected a sign proclaiming work would start in 2008. Since then there has been a drawn-out process that included the shire seeking public feedback in 2009, another round in 2011, and a plan being shown to residents in September 2011.

Perennial Mornington Peninsula Shire contractor Maw Civil started on the multi-stage project mid-May and the stage two work is expected to take 6-8 weeks.

It includes exposed aggregate concrete pavements, a terraced seating area, feature paving edges on paths, a future sculpture area that will be filled with granitic sand at this stage, raised timber deck and seating, street furniture, “landscape planting” and “ambient lighting”.

A shire spokesman said the objectives of the project was “to construct a local parkland that provides for a safe environment for families and people that facilitates optimal health and wellbeing outcomes”.

“The creation of the park will formalise open space within the Mornington Activity Centre for residents and offer a retreat for shoppers of the nearby commercial precinct.”

The park is 3500 square metres and was once part of a Shire of Mornington works depot. The land had to be cleaned up as the soil contained petrol, oil and other toxic material.

Gordon St was Mornington’s first “main street” in the 1800s but early settlers abandoned it after repeated flooding. They moved their businesses to higher ground and what is now Main St. Gordon St became the town’s first “industrial area” and at one stage had two clay brick quarries, one that filled with spring water and was abandoned, and one further north near Phillip St, which became a rubbish tip, now Berry Reserve.

In 1919 the Boadle brothers built an ice works and soft drink factory next to the spring-fed dam as the town did not have mains water. The last owner of the factory closed it in 1961, forced out of business by intense competition among soft drink makers and ice chests being replaced by fridges.

First published in the Mornington News – 2 June 2015

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