Shire seeks easier path Keith Platt email@example.com
Bright future: Mornington Peninsula Netball Association president Debbie Brown with Dunkley MP Chris Crewther and the mayor Cr Bev Colomb.
New light on netball fun MORNINGTON netballers have celebrated the opening of the seven Elsie Dorrington Reserve netball courts, following the recent completion of court upgrades and lighting. The project was jointly funded by the federal government ($500,000), state government ($100,000), Mornington Peninsula Shire Council ($363,568), and Mornington Netball Association ($50,000). The mayor Cr Bev Colomb said the competition standard lighting would aid night games. “It will grow the number of events that can be hosted on the reserve,” she said. “I’m pleased to see this upgrade finally
complete and I am looking forward to seeing the increase in competitive sports in the region from this important project.” Regional development minister Fiona Nash said the upgrade would help attract finals and regional sporting events. “I aim to build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and providing modern, well equipped and safe sporting facilities definitely helps do that.” Dunkley MP Chris Crewther said: “Netball courts like these are where Australia’s future sporting stars are born and allow for our sporting clubs to thrive and expand.”
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IN the face of widespread criticism, Mornington Peninsula Shire is now calling for comment on the process it uses to bill residents when apportioning footpath construction costs. Without specifically mentioning footpaths, the shire has issued a news release “inviting residents to provide feedback on the recently reviewed Special Charge Schemes Policy for Infrastructure Works”. The review followed a costly defeat late last year for the shire at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal when Somers residents successfully objected to a plan for them to pay for more than five kilometres of concrete paths through their town. The shire’s forward planning committee met at Balnarring last week to hear residents’ views on “what walking and pedestrian movement facilities” they would like in Somers. In its invitation to the meeting the shire attributed its loss at VCAT “an administrative error”. However, at the time, the landmark decision by VCAT was predicted to have far reaching effects for the shire and any plans it has to build new concrete paths on the peninsula. The loss at VCAT also followed revelations in August 2016 that showed the shire’s footpath construction scheme was in disarray, with 13 projects being deferred and two others awaiting appeals. Opposition to footpath construction plans in some areas was a boon to others, with $404,000 being reallocated to fix footpaths at Hastings, Somerville and Bittern. Sharing the costs of building footpaths had become so unpopular that the highest support recorded in a survey of property owners for nine schemes was just 28 per cent. One footpath was rejected by all property owners.
Imposing the footpath costs on ratepayers has also led to some unintended saving with a “typographical error” being blamed for an apparent 42 per cent blowout in the cost of a footpath in South Rd, Rosebud. Under the council’s own rules, any cost variation above five per cent has to be paid by the shire and cannot be passed on to contributors to the special charge scheme. As reported by The News in December 2015 councillors were wrongly told that the cost would be $135,000 when the final bill was $191,715 the shire had to pick up the $56,715 (a discrepancy which would eventiually have been paid by all ratepayers). In April 2016, councillors called a review of the shire’s special charge schemes policy – which can include roads – and the resulting draft policy is now on public exhibition. The revised policy proposes the following changes: Providing an earlier opportunity for community feedback before the formal process of starting a special charge scheme. Better “defining” council's financial contribution to schemes. Clarifying the process undertaken by the shire in implementing and managing a special charge scheme. This final point is framed to “assist the community in understanding the rationale behind a scheme”. The draft policy is available at mornpen.vic. gov.au/haveyoursay or the shire’s Rosebud, Mornington and Hastings offices. Submissions must be received by 5pm on Monday 24 July.
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Shop 8a, 1-13 Tyabb Road (cnr Nepean Hwy) Mornington Mornington News 27 June 2017
Mornington News 27 June 2017