16 August 2016

Page 8


Southern Peninsula

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By Wayne Chamley

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Heritage takes a back seat to ‘development’ NEWSPAPERS’ reporting of matters such as business and property sales can sometimes overlook other important consequences of such developments. A case in point is the expected sale of the Continental Hotel in Sorrento and an adjoining, council-owned, public car park. There is an important story about these sales and it covers the protection Victoria’s heritage, the greed of a shire and the disinterest of its councillors. On 25 July, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council considered, in sequence, two reports prepared by its staff. The first report considered the possible sale of the car park to Continental Developments Pty Ltd. Although this sale was publicly advertised, any other interested party soon found out that the company had in effect, an exclusive right to purchase the land for $1.8 million. A condition of sale will require the company to pay a further $930,000 to enable the shire to buy alternate land for 20 car parking spaces. In a division councillors supported the sale 9:1. About 900 square metres will be sold by the shire at a price of about $2129 a square metre. A recent sale (for the land) of a commercial business that is less than 100 metres from

the car park returned more than $6000 a square metre to the owners. So where will the shire find a comparable parcel of land for $1000 square metres? The second report to council concerned an application by the same company for a planning permit to refurbish the four-storey hotel, a heritage building built in Sorrento in 1875. Redevelopment of the site will allow construction of a modern fivestorey block of 16 units, a coffee shop and gymnasium. The redevelopment will cover both the hotel site and car park. This application was supported by a show of hands and declared as 5:4. The mayor Cr Graham Pittock did put up his hand and when questioned later said he supported the majority decision. Earlier in the council meeting, councillors stressed that the two matters would be considered separately and independently. Since the company is under no obligation to buy the car park, the planning permit vote was always a forgone conclusion if the shire was to get its money. The Continental Hotel is a heritage listed site. For more that a century residents and visitors to this historic, seaside

town have been able to see the hotel’s tower from all points around Sorrento and from offshore. Council’s lack of vision and creeping modernity will now change this forever. There are some similarities here with the proposed “redevelopment” of the Victoria Markets by Melbourne City Council. In both cases commercial interests and local government representatives don’t seem to appreciate that people enjoy particular historic places because of what they were and what they have become. They enjoy some patina and the contrast with sterile newness. In respect of the peninsula, respective government ministers with portfolio responsibilities for planning, local government and the environment need to become familiar with a number of planning, coastal management and land and environment issues that are the consequences of numerous small decisions by council. Failure to do so poses the risk that the Andrews government may become caught up in a vortex of community reaction and expensive solutions. • The author is preparing a report following a request that the Ombudsman investigate matters relating to issues referred to in this article.


Until 11 September NATIONAL WORKS ON PAPER An outstanding exhibition of contemporary works on paper from across the nation

NATIONAL WORKS ON PAPER FAMILY DAY Sunday 28 August, 2pm–4.30pm, $4 adults, $2 concession, no bookings required Use the power of paper to create crazy critters, wild dinosaurs or vibrant wheels of colour. Join a guided tour of the National Works on Paper exhibition at 3pm.

visit www.mprg.mornpen.vic.gov.au Kate Beynon, Masked Ogre Dancers 2014–5 (detail), watercolour, gouache and pencil on cotton rag, Courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne


Southern Peninsula News

16 August 2016

Civic Reserve, Dunns Road Mornington VIC 3931 Open Tues–Sun 10am–5pm Phone: 03 5975 4395

Twenty-six-year-old Torres Strait Islander Daniel O’Shane won the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery’s National Works on Paper Prize of $15,000 sponsored by Beleura House & Garden. National Works on Paper was established in 1998 and incorporated the former Spring Festival of Drawing and the Prints Acquisitive which began in 1973. The National Works on Paper is a biennial prize and exhibition organised by Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery to discover and showcase the most outstanding contemporary works on paper from across the nation. Works acquired from the National Works on Paper become a part of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery’s collection – one of the most renowned works on paper collections in Australia. The 2016 judges were Kirsty Grant, Director & CEO of the Heide Museum of Modern Art; Roger Butler, Senior Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Australia and Jane Alexander, Director Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. The judges commented: “The winning work by Daniel O’Shane is remarkably accomplished and monumental in scale; created by a young artist, using the traditions of Torres Strait Islander art that has developed in Cairns over the last 20 years. Coming out of the histories of carving pearl shell, the intricacy of the cutting in this work is simply amazing.” O’Shane’s work was chosen from the sixty-six artists shortlisted from around Australia from close to 1,000 entries for the $50,000 National Works on Paper acquisitions and awards. The prize, the most prestigious acquisitive prize and exhibition of its type in Australia, showcases recent works by artists working in the field of drawing, printmaking, digital prints and paper sculpture. Victorian artist Lily Mae Martin was the winner of the $3500 Ursula Hoff Institute Emerging Artist Acquisitive Art Award 2016 for her work Wrestling three. Other pieces acquired include works by Jonas Ropponen, who grew up on

Above: Lily Mae Martin with her work Wrestling three 2015, Winner of the $3500 Ursula Hoff Institute Emerging Artist Acquisitive Art Award the peninsula, Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Rew Hanks, Mark Hilton, Jake Homes, Deborah Kelly for her stop motion animated paper collage, Roy McIvor, Fiona McMonagle and Jim Pavlidis. The Friends of MPRG purchased Brian Robinson’s Up in the Heavens. The Mayor, Cr Graham Pittock says “The Mornington Peninsula Shire has provided critical funding support since the 1970s towards the MPRG’s acclaimed National Works on Paper exhibition. This exhibition of contemporary works is held every second year at the Gallery and has resulted in its Permanent Collection becoming a significant and valuable community asset featuring works by legendary Australian artists such John Olsen, Rick Amor, Gloria Petyarre and Charles Blackman.” The 2016 National Works on Paper exhibition runs until 11 September 2016. Come along to the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery’s National Works on Paper Family Day, with ‘drop-in’ creative activities, Sunday 28 August, 2pm–4.30pm, $4 adults, $2 concession, no bookings required. Use the power of paper to create some crazy critters, wild dinosaur hats or vibrant wheels of colour. Enjoy a guided tour of the National Works on Paper exhibition at 3pm.

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