Protecting public park

A policy has been drafted to protect a public park in Traralgon’s town centre from being sold in the future.

Latrobe City Council has compiled a policy that would require a strict process of community consultation before the sale of, or changes to, Hubert Osborne Park.

Mayor Dale Harriman said while there was nothing council could put in place to completely ban future councils from selling the park, the policy aimed to put in place measures to “make it harder” to sell the land.

“The policy gives the community a huge say in whether that block is sold,” Cr Harriman said.

“It has got to go back to the community and has to gain their support before it can be sold.”

Under the draft policy council would have to conduct a community survey of nearby residents as well as those living in the 3844 postcode to ascertain public opinion on any proposed sale of all or part of the site, any lease or change of the use of facilities within the park.

Council would also have to obtain a positive majority of the results from the community surveys.

The park is bound by Kay, Breed, Seymour and Mabel streets and includes open space behind the Traralgon outdoor pool.

In 2007 residents began campaigning to preserve the site as public open space after council proposed to relocate the Traralgon Early Learning Centre there.

Council instead opted to purchase an existing building on Mapleson Drive for the new centre.

In 2010 it considered a proposal to sell part of the park to assist the development and financing of the proposed new indoor aquatic centre, but this option did not proceed following strong public opposition.

Save Hubert Osborne Park Community Group coordinator Nola Kirkpatrick said yesterday while she had not yet read the draft policy, she welcomed any moves to protect the park for the future.

She said the group would take the time to digest the proposal and its implications.

Council will release the draft policy for public consultation in early November.