TIMBOON’S public park will not be sold by the Corangamite Shire after strong opposition from the community.
Councillors voted this week not to push on with the sale of land in Bailey Street and praised Timboon residents for their passion for the town.
Cr Wayne Oakes said the sale of the site had been a contentious issue from the start.
He said the residents’ passion for the property to be retained and used as an open space was a good example of their character and commitment to their community.
The council received 14 submissions objecting to the sale, with residents raising issues around safety concerns and a lack of parkland in Timboon.
Cr Peter Harkin congratulated the residents for their huge response and said no one from Timboon was against the shire reviewing its assets and costs. “They just didn’t want us to sell their block, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
Mayor Chris O’Connor said council officers had been asked to look at some properties to sell and this was one of them.
“I’d say I acknowledge the angst it caused Timboon but I don’t think it’s necessarily because of the number of people who said they didn’t like it or weren’t in favour of it,” he said.
“I think it’s inevitable that any type of property you try and sell you’ll get some community or parts of the community upset.
“I think it’s probably more the reasons they put behind their objections that really carried the weight.”
Cr O’Connor said he believed the officers would come forward with more properties to sell and there would again be opposition.
“But I guess it’s a matter of looking at them on their merits and in this case I think their argument was strong and carried weight,” he said.
The council bought the land from the state government in 2005 and a report presented to the council noted if the council decided not to sell the land then the ongoing costs to maintain it would be about $3200 per year.
Meanwhile, the council voted to sell land on Osborne Street, Skipton.
Cr Geoff Smith moved an alternative motion acknowledging the land had been purchased using community funding and that this be taken into account when considering projects at Skipton Recreation Reserve in future budget deliberations.
The land, at 15-17 and 19-21 Osborne Street, was purchased in 1984 by the Skipton Recreation Committee and the Shire of Hampden for future recreational development.