What a start to the year

What a start to the year
Tony Penna

Our committee has been as busy as ever with lobbying and planning the year ahead. I can feel there are going to be some great things happening this year for our community.

It is great to finally see the first of the pedestrian crossings installed on Balston St. Needless to say, it has taken quite some time.

Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) first raised this with council pre-COVID, it has essentially taken three years for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn for this to come to fruition, but we are delighted to finally see this first one completed.

We are constantly in discussions with the council and the state government regarding road issues around Southbank as there are so many dangerous intersections. It is good to see the Power St and City Rd upgrade finally taking shape. We were highlighting the dangers of that intersection long before that tragic accident in 2021.

While on lobbying, we are acutely aware of the community disappointment/outrage at the loss of the basketball court at the Boyd Park. There is a lot of history with regard to the whole Boyd space, which SRA has been instrumental to from the outset when the JH Boyd School closed and the state government was entertaining the sale of the site. Fortunately, the council decided to purchase the site. Back to the basketball court …

Originally the basketball court was supposed to have been installed at the front of the library where the current community garden is located. SRA didn’t feel this was an appropriate place for a basketball court and suggested it be positioned where it had been, temporarily, until the completion of the transformation of the Kings Way undercroft, which included a basketball court.

We didn’t foresee the construction of the residential apartments commencing any time before the completion of the undercoft, but we weren’t to know, and nor was the council, of the delays with state government facilitation of the land beneath the undercroft.

Since the closure of the basketball court, SRA has held many discussions with the council and brainstormed ideas to somehow bring back a basketball court.

One such initiative floated by SRA was for the council to enter into an agreement with the developer and landholder of Melbourne Square and utilise a section of the northwest corner (corner Balston and Kavanagh streets) as the proposed development on that site is not likely to begin before the completion of the Kings Way undercroft upgrade.

This would be a great location as it is still within the vicinity of the Boyd Park. We have even been as bold as suggesting finding a way to utilise the rooftop space above the electrical substation on the corner of Balston and Kavanagh streets (next to Imagine apartments).

After much brainstorming, what was concluded to be the simplest and quickest solution would be to TEMPORARILY utilise a section of the Boyd Park green open space.

As such, SRA is reaching out to our community to canvass its appetite on this solution to help guide our further lobbying efforts.

We know the basketball court was a much-loved part of our park, but we also know how valuable green open space is to our local community.

Hence, we don’t claim to know the sentiment of the community with this initiative.

Below is a QR code to a poll where we would like to hear from you whether you are in support of, or not, of utilising part of the Boyd Park green open space for a basketball court.

Don’t forget our lobbying voice is only as powerful as our membership base, you can join by visiting our website or send us an email to [email protected]

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