Mt Barker Christmas Pageant
At several recent Council meetings it has become clear that the Mt Barker Christmas Pageant committee are being pressured to find an alternative location for their floats as the current sheds have been deemed unsafe by a Council consultant. The land upon which the sheds are situated is Crown Land and the Council wishes to include this land in future development projects (subject to Government consent).
After a formal deputation to Council, the Pagaent committee has been trying to source an alternative solution as they only have permission to remain at the current site until the end of 2011 (or specifically they can return the floats to the sheds after this year's pagaent with no guarantees that they will have access again after this date)!
If anyone has any ideas on how to assist the Pageant committee please contact either Councillor Carol Bailey or anyone on the Association Executive. We need to ensure this Christmas Pageant remains in Mt Barker, but the Committee will require community support for this to occur.
The Association is a strong supporter of the Community Gardens project which Council staff are developing with leading community members. A report from Council did not eventuate in 2011 and the community group will continue with plans for a community garden in Mt Barker. As at May 2012 there was no further progress on this matter. A report from council did not provide any steps toward reality.
Recreation and Sport
The development of an updated Recreation, Sport and Leisure Plan is essential if these activities are to be developed and promoted consistently throughout the District. The Council's current plan is outdated (ending in 2007) and since that time the Association has been lobbying strongly for Sport, Recreation and Leisure planning to commence, in conjunction with the community.
The Association held an Open Forum in 2007 and presented a deputation to Council in 2008 but as yet Council has not moved forwards in this area. With the recent purchase of a parcel of land, outside of the current town boundary, discussions have commenced with the Mt Barker Football club to develop this parcel of land for two football ovals.
The Association has not been able to participate in these discussions as they have been confidential. We will continue to lobby Council to allow these discussions about the future of sport and recreation in the District, and in particular the future use of this parcel of land to be held in open forums or the Council Chamber at Council meetings.
We have received notification that the Council is developing a Recreation Plan and has appointed a consultant, Suter Planners to undertake initial work on this plan. More news as it comes to hand. As at 8 January 2012, there is no news! And at April 23 there is still no news!
Culture and Art
The Assocation has been encouraging Council to develop a Culture and Arts Policy for the past ten years. During the past two years a number of artists and artisans have prepared a Culture and Arts Policy and presented this to Council. Unfortunately, policy around Arts and Culture has been isolated to a Public Arts Policy only. The Association continues to lobby Council to include a broader Arts and Culture perspective in its policy agenda.
Community Land - used as dumping ground
Council voted to revocate a portion of the 'Big Green', community open space, adjacent to the St Francis de Sales School. This revocation process meant that Council could sell the land to the School for sport and recreation use. The approval included the proviso that the School allow the community to use this space after school hours and on weekends. The land was sold for almost $1,000,000 to St Francis de Sales for sport, recreation and community use.
We now know that Council staff have been using land adjacent to this land, and near the Award Winning Linear Trails as a 'works depot' with the dumping of street sweepings, tyres, bitumen and other waste products into a formerly pristine pond in the area. As this is Community Land, and subject to formal approval processes prior to such use, we believe Council staff should cease this activity and at the very least, renew the site to its former condition but ideally develop and enhance it further as a community park or recreational facility.
Town Centre Review
The Town Centre Review public consulation period has closed and Council is developing the next stages of this project. More details are available on the Council's web site. The Association has met with Council planners and the consultants, GHD, as well as Matthew Adcock to discuss our thoughts and opinions about proposed Town Centre plans. Our submission to the project is available upon request.
The draft plan has now been presented to Council and the community can provide feedback to this before May 21. There will be information sessions at the Town Hall in May. Further details are available on Council's web site.