PUBLIC suggestions are being sought for the future use of Police Point Park, at Portsea.
Sandwiched between the last residential street (Cove Lane) in Portsea and the Point Nepean National Park, the 17 hectare Police Point is owned and managed by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
The shire described it as “a beautiful heritage property that it now wants to identify “opportunities to expand the experiences the community could enjoy”.
In a news release, the shire asks if the public wants “more social and activity spaces”; improvements to existing infrastructure or facilities; or signs about First Nations history. Suggestions can be made throughout April.
“Looking to the future, we would like to explore what other activities our community would love to see come to life at Police Point … so that we can ensure the space is enjoyed by the broader community,” the mayor Cr Steve Holland said.
Cr Susan Bissinger said it was necessary to protect the beauty of Police Point and its heritage building and “make it more accessible and functional for the needs of our communities.”
Cr Sarah Race said it was the shire’s “duty to ensure this fantastic site is protected, while breathing new life into it”.
Cr David Gill encouraged people to visit or revisit Police Point “and then give feedback on what you consider the best outcomes for this much treasured heritage, cultural and scenic site”.
Not mentioned in the shire’s news release are its responsibilities under the Deed of Settlement of Trust for the land signed on 26 March 2004.
The deed agreed to by the Commonwealth and the shire came 17 years after the federal government first proposed subdividing the Police Point land for housing.
The suggestion was that the land could be sold for $10 million, twice the $5m being asked of the state by the federal government. The state was offering $1m.
In 1999 subdivision for housing was still seen as part of Police Point’s future, along with public park/car park, cafe (new building on Police Point), guest house, and restaurant.
After years of public debate and criticism, the federal government finally agreed to give Police Point to the shire. Credited with organising the handover were then-shire CEO Dr Michael Kennedy and Dunkley MP, Bruce Billson.
However, the deed came with strings attached, calling for the land to be preserved “for use as a public open space and for passive recreation”.
Set out in finer detail was that the “use and enjoyment” of Police Point be integrated with the neighbouring Point Nepean National Park; it be used for events “consistent with the preservation of and respect for [the land’s] special qualities”; “identify opportunities for and facilitate appropriate adaptive reuse of the existing Improvements” on the land; make improvements, such as car parking, shelters, amenities and walking trails … with the primary object of maintaining the land for public open space and passive recreation; and to liaise with state and federal governments, Parks Victoria and the Point Nepean Community Trust.
To comment on the future of Police Point Shire Park go to: mornpen.vic.gov.au/policepoint or in person 11am-1pm Thursday 6 April in Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento (near the information centre) or 8am-11am Saturday 15 April at Police Point Shire Park.
Hard copy forms are also available at shire customer service centres and libraries.