We’d like to set the record straight

Published on 08 May 2019

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We understand how much our residents love our parks and sporting facilities. Which is why we want to achieve the best possible outcome for the community. Our community is growing, and we need to make sure that what we do will cater for our current users, as well as lasting well into the future.

There has been a lot of concern expressed by the community around possible new developments at both West Footscray and at Footscray Park.

Firstly, we are at the very beginning of the consultation process for both projects.

To date, we have consulted with over 20 sports clubs, user groups and community groups about the West Footscray Sports Facility Plan. We have spoken with four local schools and conducted surveys with five sporting clubs. Through YourCityYourVoice, over 160 people provided us with feedback on the current facilities. A steering committee has been formed with community members and representatives from various user groups and we have undertaken a feasibility study and projected the future demand for our facilities.

The information that we gained has helped us to develop seven concept plans to facilitate further discussion. We want to know what you value about the existing facilities and what you would like to see upgraded or added. We will be hosting further opportunities to enable you to do this.

None of the concepts include the removal of playgrounds or skate parks or reduction in open space. They show different options for placing the facilities.

After all your feedback has been received, we will move to developing further design options, which will then go out for consultation.

We know Footscray Park is loved by many and Council recently invested more than $1 million in upgrading the play equipment and play space so it can be enjoyed by more children.

The park cannot be sold as it is Crown land and is managed by Council. The recently closed Footscray Park Master Plan consultations suggested the inclusion of a soccer sports academy to be built with Melbourne Victory and State Government funds. An academy would give our kids more health and wellbeing opportunities by developing an underutilised western section of the park.

Should Melbourne Victory lease the land for the purpose of building a sporting academy, any final masterplan will seek to meet community needs including walking and dog access and possible after hours use of the grounds.

The masterplan is about developing and sharing the park to benefit as many possible users. We face the challenge of looking after ageing infrastructure and investing in building new infrastructure to provide for the community’s needs now and in the future while maintaining a rate cap. We need to develop partnerships to give our community increased health and wellbeing opportunities.

Importantly, the masterplan also suggests increased tree plantings, Wi-Fi across the park and increased facilities for event goers attending the park. We want more residents to use the park, and the masterplan suggests a new jetty, circuit walking trail and making it accessible for all abilities.

Generations have enjoyed the historic gardens and its trails and we hope new generations will enjoy the park for all it has to offer in the future.

The feedback from community members is important to us. There will be further opportunities to have your say on both these projects, which will be considered before any plans are finalised.

Cr Martin Zakharov