Step closer to removing eyesore

File photograph



AFTER 15 years of indecision, arguably Moe’s greatest eyesore is one step closer to getting a much-needed facelift, after Latrobe City Council released the master plan for the Kingsford Street Reserve at its council meeting last Monday (June 5).

The Kingsford Street Reserve is a large open space reserve located between Kingsford Street and Hinkler St Moe. The derelict tennis and bocce courts have been left to waste since 2010 when the tennis club moved to the botanical gardens. Since then, with little to no use, the sports area, pavilion and shed have been vandalised and damaged frequently making the issue a problem spot for locals.

The reserve is close to the frequently used Ted Summerton Reserve, which will even host twenty20 cricket at the Commonwealth Games. The Kingsford St reserve in its current state does little to boost the attractiveness of the town.

Council officers in the plan recommended that council endorse the Draft Kingsford Street Reserve Master Plan and its implementation in two stages, with the first stage being to remove all existing infrastructure within the reserve, returning it to open green space and develop the reserve into a seniors park for the benefit of the entire community.

The probable cost of the open green space and seniors park is calculated to be around $502,000, however, no allocation of money from council has yet to be put to the project.

Councillor Sharon Gibson, in moving the motion said, “Moe is actually going to take an eyesore out of the community.”

What to do with the Kingsford Street Reserve has been a widely debated topic for more than 15 years now. In 2008 council resolved to sell Kingsford Street Reserve to try Youth & Community Services for a social housing project. The sale did not proceed as that organisation withdrew and was not able to complete the transaction.

Council has developed this master plan with community consultation on how to best use the space that reflects community interests and needs. Council has considered multiple options for the space, including a play area, a fenced-off lead dog park, a community garden, a youth activity space, RV overnight parking, a men’s shed and an outdoor gym.

The plan states that the building inspections concluded that both the pavilion and shed on the site were structurally sound, though work would have to be done to make the structures viable to use.

Local demographics of the area found a higher concentration of older adults. The report wished to plan for space that involves specialist facilities and services to meet the needs and interests of their older residents in the Moe and Newborough area, hence the reasoning behind a seniors park.

A couple of submissions were made regarding the use of the area for a community garden for vegetables and herbs, but council officers stated that the coalition of community groups who initiated the desire to establish the site as a community garden withdrew their interest.

According to the report, the Moe Community Garden Group (MCGG) wrote to council officers in July 2019 detailing that the group had decided not to pursue the Kingsford Street Reserve for their community garden project and instead would be working with the Latrobe Valley Beekeepers Association to establish a community garden at the old Moe netball courts (behind the racing club).