MELVILLE council has approved the concept plan for the $9.4 million redevelopment of Tompkins Park.
Tuesday’s council meeting was packed to the gunnels with anti-wave park residents, and around 50 of them couldn’t squeeze inside and were told to wait outside by three security guards.
“As ratepayers we have a right to be in there and if they expected a bigger turnout, it should have been moved to a bigger venue,” fumed Melville bowling club social member Bob Luton.
The plan includes four synthetic bowling greens (two under cover), additional car parking and a sporting hub that will be home to the merged Melville and Mt Pleasant bowling clubs.
Melville Council CEO Shayne Silcox was booed by the gallery when he said the breakdown of the $9.4m plan would not be made public.
“We’re keeping this confidential to keep the costs down… we cannot go into the marketplace with that information,” he said
Mayor Russell Aubrey insisted the plan was separate from the proposed wave park, but residents say the plan involves reconfiguring the playing space to accommodate the controversial surfing facility.
At the meeting Cr Cameron Schuster said facilities for sports like AFL and swimming are publicly funded, so the city should consider bankrolling an elite bowling facility.
“Apart from being good for the sport, an elite facility will perhaps allow Melville to hold state standard events from time to time,” he said.
Cr Schuster added the council could potentially use the proceeds from the sale of the old Mt Pleasant bowling club site to fund the plan, while also creating more public open space.
Cr Nicholas Pazolli opposed the concept plan, saying elite sports facilities should be funded by sporting associations and not the city.
He was also unhappy Melville, as part of the club merger, will waive its $178,000 loan to Mt Pleasant bowling club, and its $315,000 loan to Tompkins Park Community and Recreational Association.
The council’s community development director Christine Young said it would be onerous for a new merged club to take on a loan.
“It’s important that the new association begin the relationship with an equal footing to give it every chance of success,” Ms Young said.
She also said there would be no net loss of playing space as a result of the Tompkins Park redevelopment.
The Alfred Cove Action Group said they had submitted questions regarding the redevelopment way back on June 6, but council still didn’t answer them at Tuesday’s meeting.
Last week the ACAG handed over two petitions, with more than 3000 signatures opposing the Wave Park, to Labor MP Lisa O’Malley on the steps of parliament.
by CHARLIE SMITH