Frankston Times 20 February 2024

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‘Potter’ prepares for new ‘stage’ Liz Bell IT appears to be business as usual for the teams behind the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience event in April, with organisers pivoting quickly to focus on the new site at The Briars community forest dog park. Signs on the gate block people from using the dog park so that infrastructure upgrades and decorative installations can be completed by the event’s start on 6 April. The advertising spin of the event remains unchanged, tempting audiences with the line that it will be a “nighttime woodland trail experience filled with magical creatures and wizarding wonders from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films”. Apart from the deal not yet being sealed by an official letter from Warner Bros confirming the site change, those opposed to the wildlife sanctuary being originally chosen as the event site are celebrating the organisers’ change of heart. The site change was prompted by a global backlash that threatened to harm the Harry Potter brand and was enough for global entertainment giants Warners Bros and Fever Entertainment to rethink their choice - with approval from Mornington Peninsula Shire - of using a wildlife sanctuary. Community group Save Briars Sanctuary (SBS) was behind a national and international protest campaign calling on organisers to relocate the event away from the sanctuary. Its petition attracted more than 22,000 signatures and the campaign gained support

from the political parties, environmental groups and wildlife carers, in Australia and abroad, and the group wrote directly to Warner Bros. In a welcome move, on 8 February the group received an email from the senior vice-president of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, Peter van Roden, saying the companies were “reevaluating the current location of Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in The Briars at Mount Martha”. The council then scheduled an extraordinary meeting to inform the community of the “joint” decision to relocate the event to the community forest dog park within The Briars. Responding to a question during the meeting by Cr Sarah Race about the “very big dog community” on the peninsula, CEO John Baker said dog walkers would be accommodated at the public golf course in Mount Martha during the Harry Potter event, and “other dog walking” options were being investigated. A release from Save Briars Sanctuary stated: “The decision to relocate Harry Potter is a significant achievement and we are relieved that the wildlife will now be safe. However, the seeming lack of scrutiny when approving the largest event in the history of the Mornington Peninsula is alarming. Especially when the location is a special and precious ecosystem. Our wildlife should never be put at risk for profit.” A spokesperson for the group said it was looking forward to the shire’s promised review of its processes and hoped that the shire “engages with the community during and after the examination”.

Peninsula Health joins advocacy group PENINSULA Health has partnered with the Committee for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula advocacy group. Peninsula Health oversees Frankston Hospital, Rosebud Hospital, the Mornington Centre, Golf Links Road Rehabilitation Centre, and the Frankston Public Surgical Centre. Frankston Hospital is in the middle of a $1.1 billion redevelopment, funded by the state government. Committee for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula CEO Josh Sinclair said the group would help advocate for funding for the organisation’s other facilities. “We’ll keep advocating for significant government investment into Rosebud Hospital as well as key worker accommodation for healthcare workers in Frankston,” he said. “We look forward to working with Peninsula Health and with both levels of government to keep improving

DESIGNS for the new multi-storey car park at Frankston Station. Picture: Supplied

Car park construction continues WORKS on the multi-deck car park at Frankston Station are ramping up. Early works on the project began last year. Last week federal infrastructure minister Catherine King said that “major works” were underway. “Frankston Railway Station is a major transport hub, with more than 700,000 passenger trips on the line each year,” she said. “As Frankston continues to grow, this new multi-


Frankston Times

deck carpark will deliver widespread benefits to the community, helping ease congestion on local roads.” The federal and state governments each contributed $43.5 million towards the project. Victorian public transport minister Gabrielle Williams said the car park “is all part of making it easier for locals to catch the train on the Frankston line which will be level crossing free by 2029.”

20 February 2024

Frankston MP Paul Edbrooke said “this is a massive investment in car parking at Frankston Station that will provide better, safer access to train and bus services for local commuters.” The car park will have around 500 spaces, and is expected to be open late this year. The project also includes new CCTV and lighting, and bike parking.

health outcomes for our region. “The Victorian Government’s $1.1 billion redevelopment of Frankston Hospital will ensure locals have access to world-class health care on the peninsula.” The Frankston Hospital redevelopment is set to add a new 12-storey tower with an operating theatre suite, mental health services, inpatient units, expanded women's and children's services, and much more. Main works are scheduled for completion sometime next year (“Foundations laid for hospital project” The Times 1/8/23). The Committee for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula has membership tiers for businesses which range from $550 up to $10,000.

PLANS for a redeveloped Frankston Hospital. Picture: Supplied

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