THE proposed sale by South Gippsland Shire Council of the Pioneer Street land formerly occupied by the Foster kindergarten represents an excellent opportunity to consider a planning blueprint for the township of Foster.
That is the view of the Foster Community Association, which is urging the shire not to rush headlong into the sale.
The proposed sale – to the South Gippsland Water Corporation, which owns adjoining land – is on the agenda for consideration at today’s Council meeting.
The Foster Community Association wrote to Council to express some concerns about the sale and then Christine Kemper, representing the association, made a public presentation to Council last Wednesday.
Ms Kemper said the FCA was not totally satisfied with the replies it had received from Council regarding its submission, so had felt it best to make a presentation in person.
She said that the community association was pleased to see that the land was being sold to an organisation with a view to the organisation expanding and possibly employing even more people from the local area.
“However, we need to make the best of the opportunities presented by the sale of the land,” she said.
“This is prime commercial land and represents a substantial sale of community assets. The community should get some say in it.”
She suggested that the safety of children using the skate rink behind the site should be considered. Council should specify that any fencing SGW erects should be of clear mesh – not wooden palings – so as not to obscure the view of the skate rink from the street, and should further ensure that SGW does not erect a building on the site.
She also raised concerns about the safety of children in Pioneer Street with the potential for extra traffic if the site is used, as seems likely, for car parking spaces.
The site in question adjoins the shire depot which, the community association suggests, would be better suited to a site elsewhere in Foster. They would like to see Council considering the sale of the kindergarten site in the context of a long-term blueprint for Foster.
“Be visionary and set Foster up to meet its future needs”, urged Ms Kemper.
She said the library and gallery were desperate for more space and there was a crying lack of parking spaces in Foster. Council should be considering these issues. There was an opportunity, she said, to invest some of the proceeds from the sale into better services for Foster.
“Be proactive in this,” Ms Kemper exhorted Council.
Mayor Warren Raabe thanked Ms Kemper for her presentation and suggested raising the matter in a budget submission.