THE insurance savings in the budget have allowed Mornington Peninsula Shire to bring forward the sealing of the unmade car park at Currawong Community Centre in Mornington.
The car park is number one on the shire’s list of 250 unmade car parks, revealed in late May when councillors adopted the Unmade car park construction strategy.
The multi-building Currawong centre is home to more than 1000 University of the Third Age (U3A) members who use it every weekday.
Also using the centre are two church groups, two programs that provide meals for children, and community groups that hire the hall.
U3A president Tom Jeavons led the effort to lobby for the car park to be sealed, making a submission during the shire’s two-month budget process. He told the council about the risk of injury to visitors in the high-use car park. The number of U3A members had doubled in recent times, and some members had disabilities.
The car park was also used by the nearby preschool for pick-up and drop-off as well as the maternal and child health centre.
Ross Gregory, the shire’s team leader of infrastructure planning and policy, commented after Mr Jeavons’s submission: “The council adopted the Unmade car park construction strategy on 25 May. This car park is the top priority in the strategy given the high usage level that it receives and the access needs of the key users groups.
“Funding has not been included in the proposed 2015-16 budget due to the strategy not being adopted at the time of preparation of the budget. It will again be put forward for the 2016-17 budget.”
Councillors reversed the decision last week.
U3A vice-president Jan Oliver said the group was pleased the council had found money to seal the car park. She said the U3A lobbying effort had been supported by Cr Anne Shaw.
“It is difficult for many people to negotiate the car park, especially in winter,” she said. “The pot holes are huge and there have been some nasty falls.”
She said the car park was used by many people with disabilities including children.
The Currawong Community Centre precinct has historic buildings that were once part of a property called Tanti, which was started in the 1841 and became part of Grigg’s Tanti Sheep Farm from 1937 to 1956.
The farm was bought by the Housing Commission in 1964 but the Shire of Mornington retained the farm buildings for a community centre. New buildings have been added over the years and old ones restored.
Number two on the unmade car park list is John Butler Reserve in Mt Eliza.