City of Melville wipes out sporting loans for Tompkins Park development

City of Melville wipes out sporting loans for Tompkins Park development

TOMPKINS Park moved a big step closer to a $9.4 million overhaul when Melville councillors voted 8-3 to move the project to the detailed design phase this week.

As part of the approval, councillors agreed to extinguish outstanding loans of $200,000 to the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club and $315,000 to the Tompkins Park Community and Recreation Association.

Long-time Mt Pleasant Bowling Club member John Terrell addressed councillors ahead of their debate on the item, saying the proposed sporting hub made financial sense for both ratepayers and the bowls clubs being forced to merge at the new site.

“I see amalgamation as being a positive move for all parties concerned and this project also represents a sound investment in terms of public amenity and community wellness,” Mr Terrell said.

“There have been too many delays to this project already and bowlers are getting fed up – I implore councillors to get on with the job of developing this new facility.”

Mr Terrell’s comments come in stark contrast to those of Alfred Cove Action Group convener David Maynier, who remains convinced the Tompkins Park upgrade is a convenient excuse to clear the Melville Bowling Club land required for the proposed wave park.

Mr Maynier, who attended last Tuesday’s council meeting along with a large contingent of ACAG supporters, has branded the upgrade a “pork-barrelling exercise” to appease the Melville and Mt Pleasant bowling clubs for moving.

The City of Melville has repeatedly stated the proposed wave park and Tompkins Park overhaul are independent issues.

Cr Duncan Macphail said the timeline of events, including a City of Melville study into the future of lawn bowls that started in 2009, did not support Mr Maynier’s theory.

“There are some who are pushing to mix and match these issues but the evidence doesn’t fit that,” he said.

“I see more credibility in the opinions of those that have skin in the game, such as John Terrell, and the assertion this project is some kind of concoction holds less credibility then a so-called Japanese scientific whaling exhibition.”

Cr Nicholas Pazolli questioned the scope and cost of the project, which he said would contribute to widening the City’s asset replacement gap.

“For such a significant project there have been very few details provided,” he said.

“Instead of being asked to approve a business plan we are being asked to approve a concept as well as $9.4 million in capital funding – you would think that kind of decision would only be made with the benefit of a comprehensive business case.”

Crs Cameron Schuster and Guy Wieland both said the City had a responsibility to provide a wide range of services and facilities to meet the needs of all residents.

Once the detailed design phase is completed and costed, the project will return to Melville council for another vote.

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