Heritage binds shire to skatepark site


MT MARTHA Tennis Club is under increasing pressure to withdraw its objections to a skatepark, with a second Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor reminding it of how it has benefitted from “ratepayer funds”.

Cr Andrew Dixon last week accused the tennis club of “effectively holding the rest of the community to ransom” by objecting to the skatepark being built alongside its courts.

The club is able to hold-up the shire’s plans because the site for the skatepark is within land leased to the club by the shire.

For the third week in a row shire officers have failed to acknowledge problems with the lease, despite several emailed requests from The News.

However, Cr Bev Colomb said the only land suitable or acceptable to Heritage Victoria for the skatepark was next to the tennis court.

Heritage Victoria has ruled out the skatepark being built elsewhere on the parade ground reserve near Mt Martha community house at the corner of The Esplanade and Dominion Rd.

“It is due to a heritage ruling that we have the need to put the community facility next to the tennis courts. There is nowhere else suitable,” Cr Colomb said.

“The skatepark will provide a free activity for not just our younger residents but also the young at heart. They will not need to pay a membership fee or anything else. They deserve to have an outdoor activity also.

“I would have thought that a club that has benefited very well from ratepayer funds would be very appreciative and would wish to see other members of the community enjoying some fun and social time.”

Cr Colomb hoped the impasse “will be resolved soon”.

As reported last week Cr Dixon says the tennis has been “flat out refusing to negotiate any co-location of the skatepark within their lease area”.

He said councillors were considering revoking the club’s lease “so we can get on with the job”.

“It’s the most selfish behaviour we’ve witnessed by a community group since the council term began in 2012,” Cr Dixon said.

Tennis club president Ken Davis said the club backed the plan for a skatepark on the parade ground but not close to the courts.

“We’re waiting for the shire’s take on it to see what possibilities are available,” he said.

After several requests for answers to specific questions, the shire’s chief operating officer Alison Leighton said “shire officers have been working through the delivery aspects with the Mt Martha Tennis Club”.

Mr Davis said tennis club members had agreed there would be a conflict of use if a skatepark abutted the tennis courts. “We voted to work with council, but would like it further away. We’ve no objection to it being on the parade ground.”

Council adopted the skatepark project in 2012, to be built on the former military parade ground.

First published in the Mornington News – 14 June 2016


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