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Fears for Boyd Park

12 Jul 2016

Fears for Boyd Park Image

The City of Melbourne looks likely to put the development site at the Boyd Community Hub back on the open market and deny the community the park it desires.

This is despite the Southbank Residents’ Association’s (SRA) best efforts after it initiated a petition to turn the site into a full park in the wake of council’s decision to tear up its commercial contract with developer Mackie.

To date, the petition has more than 900 signatures and SRA president Tony Penna says this is a clear sign as to where the community sits on the issue.

“We believe the success of the petition has sent a clear message to council that the residents are not only fed up with the lack of accessible open space but that land owned by this council is for investing in its people and not for developers to profit,” he said.

“This is an extremely rare opportunity for council to truly give something tangible back to the community to benefit not only now but generations to come.”

However, at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on June 15, council passed a special resolution stating that a report would be provided to the June 28 meeting recommending that council put the site back on the market.

The resolution proposed amending the 2016-17 Budget to include an additional $200,000 in order to cover the necessary advertising, marketing and legal fees associated with securing “a new development partner”.

At the June 28 meeting, council deliberated over its next move for site, however details of the meeting weren’t disclosed as it was listed as a confidential item.

Mr Penna has questioned why the matter was discussed in confidence, given the contract had been terminated.

Deputy planning chair Cr Rohan Leppert told Southbank Local News that council was unable to disclose the reasons as to why the item was confidential.

“I’m unable to disclose the reasons without breaching the Local Government Act,” he said. “The CEO has declared the matter confidential as it’s a contractual matter.”

However, he did say further details regarding the site’s future would be made available to the public this month.

Cr Ken Ong said he felt divided on what should happen at the site, but said all signs were pointing towards a return to the open market.

“I’m a bit divided on Boyd,” he said. “On one hand, the city had forecast a long-term economic stimulus from the Mackie development, which we obviously couldn’t predict wouldn’t go ahead.”

“On the other hand, there is the community benefit that must be considered so council is in a difficult position on this one.”

A spokesperson for the City of Melbourne said the council was also currently seeking quotes to demolish the fence between the library and open space to enhance access to the temporary park.

“It is anticipated that quotes will be received by the end of this week, with work to commence within the next two weeks depending on the contractor’s availability,” the spokesperson said.

“In relation to the red container, officers advise it is currently being used for community strengthening event activity at Boyd Community Hub so it needs to be accessible and onsite as there is an extreme lack of storage space within the Boyd building.”

To add your signature to the petition head to change.org and search Boyd Park.

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