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Park has gone cold

10 Dec 2015

Park has gone cold Image

Southbank Residents Association president Tony Penna quizzed Lord Mayor Robert Doyle last month as to why the community was still waiting for its future park at the Boyd Community Hub.

Mr Penna questioned the status of the site at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on December 8, and asked why the draft master plan for the 2500sqm park had again been delayed until mid-2016.  

Developer Mackie is still sitting on a building permit, which was issued by former planning minister Matthew Guy in September 2013 and is due to lapse next September.

While construction was expected to begin earlier this year, the space that once housed the former playground of the JH Boyd School still remains undeveloped.  

Mr Penna alleged that the CEO of the Mackie Group Ralph Mackie told him in a conversation that “he wouldn’t be dictated to” as to what the urban park would look like.

“The developer has implied in those discussions that he’s not going to be dictated to by the City of Melbourne with regard to what that park is going to entail,” Mr Penna said.

“He appeared to have had his own plans and, in my own observation of the planning permit that was issued, I couldn’t see anything that was locking him into what happens with that park.”

Mr Penna asked the Lord Mayor whether the community consultation process was ultimately pointless.

The Lord Mayor responded to Mr Penna by saying that the City of Melbourne had been “very patient” with the developer.

“We can’t comment on some third party conversation that you may or may not have had with the developer,” Cr Doyle said.

“Our arrangements are in place with the developer Mackie, and I think we’ve been very patient as a council in dealing with that developer to get this development moving.”

“My understanding is that the open space is developed in consultation with community and the council and not at the discretion of the developer.”

The City of Melbourne entered into a commercial agreement with the developer in 2012 for a residential and commercial development, having purchased the former Boyd school for $10.5 million in December, 2007.

The 22-storey development will comprise 239 one, two and three bedroom apartments (including floor plans specifically designed for people with disabilities), affordable housing and 2000sqm of retail and commercial space.

Mr Mackie didn’t respond to efforts by Southbank Local News to contact him for comment.

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