Kingborough Council will go ahead with its plan to invest in playground upgrades after councillors voted to sell four parcels of disused land.
A recent Council playground audit found that 36 of Kingborough’s 45 existing playgrounds do not meet community expectations, with upgrades required.
The land approved for sale included: 110 Channel Highway, Taroona; Lot 2 Mount Pleasant Road, Kingston; 281 Roslyn Avenue, Blackmans Bay and 41 Hiern Road, Blackmans Bay.
The original proposal had seven properties listed for sale to fund playground upgrades, however objections to the properties at Alonnah and Gemalla Road, Margate caused the council to reconsider.
The property at Snug Tiers Road, Snug has also been removed from consideration as permission from the State Government was required to proceed with the sale which was denied.
The funds from the sale of the four properties approved for sale will go into playgrounds categorised as being in the worst condition.
The first four play spaces upgraded will be: Louisa Hinsby Park, Taroona; Willowbend Park, Kingston; Alamo Close Park, Blackmans Bay and Donohoe Gardens, Blackmans Bay.
Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter said Kingborough Council expected there to be funds left over to invest in more local playgrounds and public spaces.
“Once we know how much we have generated from the land sales and how much each of the first four upgrades will cost, I hope we will be able to target additional areas,” Mayor Winter said.
“We now have a plan and a pool of money big enough to make a significant start to delivering these upgrades.
“Every extra year we wait to do these upgrades impacts kids and their families who deserve and need quality playgrounds to explore and develop.”
Alternative uses are being explored for the land at Alonnah and Gemalla Road after community feedback caused councillors to rethink the sale of these two properties.
Mayor Winter said it was clear there was no support for the sale of land at Alonnah.
“Our plan was to sell the Alonnah block and reinvest the generated funds back into local open spaces in Alonnah,” explained Mayor Winter.
“No support was received for the proposal and so we will not go ahead with it.
“It was a pretty easy decision in the end and we appreciated that feedback.
“A local group wants the opportunity to develop the block for community use.
We will give them the opportunity to do that, because keeping the block vacant would not be a good outcome.”
The Bruny Island community will be given time to develop the land into public open space and demonstrate to Kingborough Council that the land is being used.
In 12 months, the site and development will be assessed again.
The Margate site sale will also be revisited once the road widening, which the site was originally and compulsorily acquired for, has been completed.
“Gemalla Road at Margate is a complex situation,” continued Mayor Winter.
“Residential homes remain in what has been zoned an industrial area for a long time.
“I think we need to have a deeper think about this situation in consultation with the residents.”
Some community concerns were also voiced over the sale of 281 Roslyn Avenue, Blackmans Bay however this parcel has been approved for sale.
Don Riddell, a nearby Blackmans Bay resident, said that council was “somewhat misleading” in stating that this “established part of the Sherbud Oval precinct” didn’t have a current or future use.
“There is little available overflow carparking on the surrounding streets and the carpark is now used regularly during the day by parents dropping off and picking up children from Illawarra Primary,” Mr Riddell said.
Mr Riddell also remarked on the use of the land by Kingborough Council as a depot for machinery and materials during nearby works, stating that a similar future need is sure to arise.
Stating it would be short-sighted to have residential development on the site, Mr Riddell suggested that Kingborough Council seal the gravelled areas to consolidate the parking for Sherbud Park, control dust and to retain it for future use such as a Blackmans Bay park and ride facilities.
Regarding the proposed playground upgrades, Mr Riddell said using sale proceeds in this way was a “noble aspiration” but would be “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
“One community asset, Sherbud Park, is being stripped of current and future flexibility and amenity to fix another problem that will continue to require maintenance funding,” stated Mr Riddell.
“The council should also recognise that it is a long-term part of the open space in this locality and properly consult with the community on the use and development of the park precinct.
“Sale will ultimately bring little long-term monetary benefit or community utility.
“One would hate to hear in the future ‘if only’,” concluded Mr Riddell.
Despite objections, the land is zoned as a Residential block and is not set aside as public open space.
Council officers also stated parking at Sherbud Oval was currently adequate but could be improved with a better layout on the existing site.
In response to proposed alternatives, Mayor Winter stated that; “Councillors felt upgrading the nearby Alamo playground would provide greater community benefit than retaining a valuable, residential block for very occasional, informal parking”.
Pictured above: Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter at Willowbend Park in Kingston which is due to be upgraded using proceeds of the land sales. (PS)