THERE was a win for the Foster community when South Gippsland Shire Council voted at its meeting last week on the sale of the former Foster kindergarten site in Pioneer Street.
Council agreed to proceed to finalise negotiations for the sale of the land to South Gippsland Water. At the same time it supported Cr Mohya Davies’s recommendation to include as part of the 2012/13 Council Plan an investigation to determine the best use of the balance of the Council land in Pioneer Street, which includes the existing Foster Depot and a skate park.
“This is a very significant parcel of land. It’s good to see South Gippsland Water expanding in Foster, but we need to partner with the water corporation to achieve the best possible outcome,” said Cr Davies.
Consideration will be given to maintaining a good view of the skate park from the street, which Cr Davies argued was important so that parents could monitor (from a respectful distance) the safety of children using the park.
Also in the mix will be: the need for South Gippsland Water to expand its car parking area, and the adjoining Crown land owned by the Department of Sustainability and Environment and licensed to the Scouts Association and to Council for access.
Cr Davies made her amendments to the original motion approving the sale in response to a powerful submission from Christine Kemper on behalf of the Foster Community Association. As well as submitting the association’s views in written form, Ms Kemper eloquently addressed Council on the matter at a public presentation session the previous week.
“This is prime commercial land and represents a substantial sale of community assets. The community should get some say in it,” she argued.
As well as urging Council to ensure there were clear sightlines from the street to the skate park for the sake of the children using it, she urged Council to be visionary and consider the sale of the kindergarten site in the context of a long-term blueprint for Foster.
She said the library and gallery were desperate for more space and there was a great need for more parking spaces in Foster. Council, she said, should be considering these issues and should invest some of the proceeds from the sale of such an important community asset into better services for Foster.
Ms Kemper expressed great delight upon hearing the outcome of last Wednesday’s vote. She said: “I’m pleased that they’re being positive and pro-active, looking at the big picture and taking into consideration what are important issues for the people of Foster.”