A GROUP of neighbours trying to get their local park upgraded believe they’ve discovered a glitch in Melville council’s Robin Hood grants program.
The Macrae Macleod Community Green Space Fan Club applied for a share of the grant program’s $50,000 pool but fears the voting system favours big applicants like schools, churches and businesses over grassroots groups.
That’s because the council allocates funding (which it halved this year) based purely on votes cast by the public.
Green Space Fan Club spokesperson Debra Watson says her group will struggle to match schools which, with a single email, can quickly draw on teachers and parents to vote for their projects.
She and her band of volunteers will spend the weekend pounding the streets and putting flyers into neighbours’ letterboxes in the hope they’ll log on to give their support.
She says a fairer, more Robin Hoodesque system would see the council quarantine a percentage of funding for community groups.
The fan club says its little pocket of green space at the corner of Macrae and Macleod roads has been ignored by the council for too long and needs some TLC. It’s owned by the council but isn’t designated a park, so they’re also keen to stake a claim to it in case some bureaucrat starts eyeing it off for development.
Ms Watson complains people also drive across the grass and park cars there while using the Riselely Street shops, so they’re asking for money to put bollards around it.
The cash could also restore flattened grass, buy some furniture and native plants. She says red-tailed black cockatoos have been visiting the space for a couple of months, and a resident Australian magpie lark, Stumpy, could do with some more food sources.
Fan club member George Kelly notes Macleod Road is a designated cycling route, so preventing cars from parking willy-nilly on the park’s verges will improve cyclists’ safety.
Other projects up for consideration including a park at the St George’s church, a drinking fountain and solar park at George Humes Park, a couple of green parklets for local cafes, and umpteen nature playgrounds from local primary schools.
Voting is open until May 4 through http://www.werelisteningmelville.com.au/projectrobinhood
by STEVE GRANT