Southern Peninsula News 1 December 2020

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Campers permitted Continued from Page 1 Cr Hugh Fraser described Mr Baker’s decision to postpone the camping season until February as “a significant failure of community consultation and process”. “[The decision] was not taken with the benefit of the DELWP guidelines that are currently being developed for non-council camping grounds, such as Capel Sound and Camerons Bight/Whitecliffs COMs, which currently are to remain open for camping,” he said. “Equally, the decision to close council managed camping grounds was taken during the election period/caretaker period and when councillors were not in office. “Presumably the decision was taken by the CEO under the COVID-19 emergency powers. Council ought now move to revoke such unusual special delegated powers embedded in the CEO’s delegation. “The decision could readily have been delayed until councillors were sworn in or affirmed in office last Monday (16 November) and the matter considered in an informed way by council.” Campers will be asked to observe a number of COVID-19 requirements, such as a guest register for each site, complying with density quotients in amenity blocks, and to wear masks where appropriate. They will also be encouraged to pack light and limit the use of extra equipment and kit to maintain a clear distance between sites. Amenity blocks will be cleaned more frequently. Mr Baker said ongoing concerns about the intermingling of beach goers and campers remain “which is why the 2 January date was chosen”. “We determined that the large numbers of people who gather on the beach between Christmas and New Year, plus New Year’s Eve activities, posed a significant risk of overcrowding in and around the campgrounds,” he said. “We have been cautious with our deliberations and believe we have reached the right balance between public safety and allowing the camping season to continue.”

Bike sports added to spending cycle UP to $60,000 in this year’s Mornington Peninsula Shire Council budget will go towards developing a mountain bike and BMX strategy on shireowned land. The strategy will aim to ensure that new and upgraded trails and jumps are in suitable locations and designed with community needs in mind. The shire manages four bike sports areas on the peninsula: Dromana Pump Track, Hillview Reserve, Boundary Road, Red Hill Mountain Bike Skills Park, Red Hill Station Grounds, Harold Reid Reserve BMX track, Baxter, and Westpark Reserve BMX track, Hastings. The shire is also deciding if any of the unauthorised – and illegal – bike jumps built in parks and reserves can be made safe and allowed to remain. Construction of these impromptu bike jumps ruffled a few feathers among other parks’ users who saw the children’s efforts as vandalism. (“Boys plea to not write-off jumps” The News 26/10/20). They began to appear after the closure of many outdoor sporting facilities, including skate parks and playgrounds, when youngsters were looking for opportunities to have fun and blow off steam within their five kilometre radius. “While we appreciate the energy,

creativity and enjoyment of those involved in creating bike jumps, the shire has also received many complaints from other park and bushland users whose enjoyment and safe use of these spaces have been affected,” infrastructure strategy and climate change executive manager Davey Smith said. “Volunteer groups looking after bushland areas over many years have also seen impacts to surrounding fauna and flora. “The shire has a responsibility to ensure all residents are safe and our environment is protected and is undertaking works to achieve this, including removal of bike jumps. Please be respectful of shire staff as they carry out these duties.” The shire says engagement with residents and users is crucial for its mountain bike and BMX strategy to be viable. “We need to consider community safety and the broad range of users and abilities, while also protecting the peninsula’s unique environment and ecological values,” Mr Smith said. To provide input to the strategy, to keep up to date with developments, and be notified when the draft strategy opens for community consultation, go to Stephen Taylor

‘Limited’ racing BALNARRING Picnic Races are on next Saturday (5 December), although spectator tickets are limited due to COVID-19 regulations. Catering will be minimal, so it is a BYO day for food, drinks and chairs. The TAB will not be operating, and bookmakers may not be on course. However, there will be room for social distancing and face masks must be worn. Tickets available at or for further information go to www.balnarringraces or email balnarringraces@

Customer service MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire’s customer service centres at Hastings, Mornington and Rosebud will reopen this week for limited services, 8.30am-5pm. Staff can assist with payments, animal registrations, and general inquiries. The offices are at 21 Marine Parade, Hastings, 2 Queen Street, Mornington, (enter via Vancouver Street), and 90 Besgrove Street, Rosebud. All other shire departments will continue to work remotely. Those wishing to speak to a staff member can call 1300 850 600. Somerville customer service centre is regarded as being too small to allow for safe social distancing and will remain closed. To contact a customer service officer on web chat: mornpen.vic. or call 1300 850 600.


Keep our fitted face masks on when indoors, on public transport and when we can’t keep our distance.

Keep catching up outdoors.

Go to Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne PAGE 8

Southern Peninsula News

2 December 2020

Keep washing our hands.

Keep getting tested if we have any symptoms.

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