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Build us a park!

09 Jun 2016

Build us a park! Image

The local community is calling on the City of Melbourne to build it a new park at the Boyd Community Hub.

The City of Melbourne officially announced last month that it had terminated its commercial contract for the site with developer Mackie after an agreement between the two parties failed to come to fruition.

While the arrangement would have seen a 2500sqm park constructed along the Balston St edge, it would have also comprised a huge 22-storey development with 239 apartments, affordable housing and retail space.

Mackie’s failure to meet its contractual obligations has opened the door to the possibility of a park, despite City of Melbourne councillors recently stating that they would favour putting the site back on the open market.

The Southbank Residents Association, led by president Tony Penna, has initiated a petition requesting that council transform the site into a new park and is calling on the signatures of residents.

“We fought to save this space. Southbank Residents Group was at the forefront of the fight to even retain the Boyd School for a community centre,” Mr Penna said.

“Council was going to sell the whole thing, there wasn’t even talk of having a community space. What we’ve got now was as a result of that community spirit.”

“We believe that the entire block should have always been saved for community space.”

Local residents gathered at the site on June 3 in support of a proposal for the entire site to be public open space.  

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said access to the park would be improved until council decided its next move.

“As a result of the contract termination, we are creating a temporary park for the community by removing the existing site fence,” the spokesperson said.

Southbank Local News understands that council plans to meet in the coming months to decide whether to retain the space or put it back on the open market.

Planning chair Cr Ken Ong stated last month that it “would still most likely go to market” but said providing some open space on the site was still a part of council’s plans.

“We would still most likely go to market, as council is still very set on providing affordable housing for the site,” he said.

Mr Penna said that the Southbank community was in urgent need of open space and that it shouldn’t have to accept even more development to help fund it.  

“Green open space is in such urgent need in Southbank so it’s a no brainer. We have next to no green space in Southbank,” he said.

“We have to sell our space to fund our library, which is just fundamentally wrong. Docklands library was completely council funded but council wants us to sacrifice our own space. We’re the second biggest contributor to council’s revenues yet they don’t spend anything on us.”

To show your support for a park at Boyd, head to change.org and sign the petition.

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