Councillor hits back saying small parks are too costly

CLAIMS the Fraser Coast Regional Council is "selling parks away from our kids" have been rubbished.

Responding to a letter to the editor written by former councillor Sue Brooks (published below), current councillor for division five Rolf Light said her facts were wrong.

Ms Brooks wrote about her concern the council was selling parks and open spaces because of their use to children and the elderly.

But Cr Light insisted the council was not having a fire sale of open spaces - but admitted there were some that could be sold.

"The cost of maintaining those parks is enormous," he said.

"It is unproductive - out of all the hundreds of parks we have there were three that came up for tender.

"Some of those parks we're talking about don't have any infrastructure - not known as a park by the community."

Cr Light said 24% of the council's budget was spent on parks and gardens.

"We have to be business like, to look at what we can do to achieve better outcomes for the residents in terms of rates and rate increases," he said.

"I fully support what we've done."

Cr Light was referring to the small lots of open land on street corners.

"They're a piece of grass a half size of a house," he said.

He cited the small park on Palmwood Dr in Dundowran Beach as an example.

"It has got a high degree of vegetation- I know for a fact it had feral cats in there a few years ago," he said.

"It's not used as a park, there are no barbecues, no playground equipment you can't even walk through it properly.

"I believe they're the types of parks we should look at giving them away."

Cr Light said the council could sell them at a low cost to neighbours.

Unproductive parks

  • Parks like Palmwood Dr, Dundowran Beach and the park on the corner of Pallas St and Wilson St Maryborough
  • Council spends more than $13.2 million on parks and gardens each financial year

Letter to the editor

APPALLED and upset and betrayed. These are the feelings I have on learning recently that the council has decided to sell some of our parks.

These parks were the open space component of the residential developments that surround them.

The Planning Scheme still requires development to provide open space so I simply don't understand how the council can now decide parks are not needed.

Recently the council also decided to build a car park for a kindergarten in a public park at Scarness.

Doesn't the council realise that our small pocket parks are essential breathing spaces?

These parks are treasured by the residents who live around them.

Many residents actively seek to live adjacent or in close proximity to a local park.

Parks are a play space. They are a breathing space.

Many of them contain trees which are home to many and varied wildlife. Parks help clean our air.

Parks are even more essential in these times when backyards are becoming extinct.

Where else can children run and play?

Where else can our more senior community members take a leisurely stroll? Walk their dog?

In Palmwood Drive in Dundowran Beach is a small park. It is covered in native palm trees unique to our coastal area.

Division 5 Cr Rolf Light has told me that he supports the selling of our parks because selling "unproductive" land is a good thing to do!

I ask Cr Light and his colleagues when did they ask us, their constituents, if we believed our parks were unproductive?

Tenders were called before Christmas. Some parks, I believe, have their fate sealed already!

I did not know that this council has plans to sell our parks.

Yes, parks cost money to maintain so why not do what other councils do and develop a volunteer Friends of the Parks scheme?

But to sell off our children's future just for the sake of making money appals me. Councillors please rethink this ridiculous and harmful strategy. Save our Parks!

- Sue Brooks, Dundowran Beach



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