AFTER more than 20 years of delay the Mount Martha community playground also known as the Mount Martha Eco Park in Glenisla Drive will be extended and refurbished.
The playground was built at the instigation of local residents who stopped South East Water subdividing the land for 64 housing lots.
“The outcome of the drawn out fight with authorities and Mornington Peninsula Shire was a much smaller subdivision and the land donated to the shire for a community playground,” said former shire president and state MP, Judith Couacaud Graley, a member of the group behind the creation of the park.
“Although the original plans for the eco park had three stages only the first stage was ever completed. The new plans will feature more contemporary play equipment, landscaping and outdoor furniture.”
The playground will also include a commemorative bench and plaque to acknowledge the work of Mount Martha Community Playground Association’s member Jill Vines, who was instrumental in saving the land. Vines led a group of students who advocated at VCAT for the land to be a public park.
“We started this playground group nearly 30 years ago and we got the first stage done for our children to enjoy. This new park will be for our grandchildren,” Couacaud Graley said.
“It’s been important for us to resume the fight to have this playground built. It’s sad it’s taken so long but in taking up the fight again we are going to get a bigger and better playground for all our children and grandchildren.”
Couacaud Graley said there had been “a sense of déjà vu” in lobbying for the latest plans with “endless emails and letters, meetings, negotiations and lobbying the shire”.
“But at least after all this time it’s going to be built,” she said.
“I know local families are very much looking forward to a bigger and better playground. Indeed, they have had to wait far too long.”
Cathy Mitchell, another member of the original playground group, the next stage “will open up fabulous outdoor opportunities encouraging physical health and wellbeing”.
David Gray, another original group member: “Our current generation of children and our grandchildren will hopefully benefit enormously from a safe and specially designed play space that others were denied by lack of follow through and commitment by the shire to the families of Mount Martha.”
Jenny Donaldson said young people “are the future of our community and deserve the respect of having facilities such as a skate park provided for them. I hope we see such a facility before too long”.