Thursday, May 30, 2024

Kingston calls on Vic Govt to replace sports oval claimed by rail loop

Victoria’s Kingston Council has called for a new regional sporting facility site to be urgently secured to replace the site now earmarked under Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) plans.

Acting Kingston Mayor, Jenna Davey-Burns said the Victorian Government must make securing a new site the highest priority to meet booming demand for sporting facilities in the region.

“For years our community had been looking forward to extensive sporting facilities being delivered on the Delta Site in Kingston’s Green Wedge,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

“We need an urgent solution to provide much needed female-friendly and regional sporting facilities to meet growing demand.”

Kingston Council welcomed the fact that the Suburban Rail Loop East Inquiry and Advisory
Committee (IAC) report committed to providing replacement open space for the regional sporting facility.

For several years, Kingston Council has been working with key sporting bodies to identify much-needed facilities.

“The 34-hectare Delta site would have met existing needs, however further space is also needed to serve the increased population the SRL is expected to generate,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

“It’s clear that the new sporting facility must be very large-scale to address a wide range of sporting needs, including football, cricket, soccer, hockey, baseball, cycling and more.”

Following an urgent Special Council meeting responding to the recent Victorian Government SRL announcement, the Council will now advocate for a replacement site to be secured in Kingston’s Green Wedge to ensure the regional sporting facility progresses as a matter of highest priority, the Acting Mayor said.

“Now that the outcomes of the Environmental Effects Statement are clear we expect this to be the highest of priorities for the State Government,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

Karkarook Ward Councillor, Hadi Saab said the Heatherton and Clarinda communities were deeply disappointed in the Victorian Government decision to proceed with the train stabling yard at the Delta site.

“Addressing our community’s disappointment requires a concerted effort by the State Government to deliver on a long promised open space commitment,” Cr Saab said.

“I have heard community feedback that if the stabling yard does proceed, despite strong objections from Council and the community, and the IAC findings, the replacement site must at the very least meet community expectations.”

Council says the Delta site was uniquely positioned to strategically service the growing needs for female-friendly sports and the need for additional sporting facilities, as well as being a core connection to the Chain of Parks.

To address the loss of this opportunity, the replacement site must (at a minimum) be:
• Equivalent or greater in size and not fragmented
• Located nearby and well-serviced by public transport
• Able to accommodate required sporting fields and buildings
• Promptly acquired and early offset opportunities actioned
• Located so as not to displace key Green Wedge activities, such as agriculture.

“The Government should also prioritise finding real solutions for neighbouring residents who were promised open space over their back fences and instead will face years of construction and a future stabling facility,” Cr Saab said.

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