Toilets create stink at Royal Park

Julianne Bell and Protectors of Public Lands members at the planned toilet site. PIC: MATT MURPHY

Julianne Bell and Protectors of Public Lands members at the planned toilet site. PIC: MATT MURPHY

A PARKLAND protection group is kicking up a stink over Melbourne Council plans to install a $200,000 public toilet in Royal Park, saying it would kill heritage trees.

The council is set to start work on the aluminium toilet building in Gatehouse St, near the corner with Park Drive, next month.

But Protectors of Public Lands is fighting to have the toilet moved, saying the proposed site would kill two historic pepper trees and spoil a major entrance to the park.

“It is an extreme act of vandalism,” spokeswoman Julianne Bell told the Leader last week.

Ms Bell also warned public toilets could attract illegal and anti-social behaviour, which she said had led to the partial closure of a public toilet at nearby Western Oval.

But council spokesman Sam Bishop denied there would be any tree damage and said the plan had been supported in public consultation that ended on April 10.

“The public toilet will be installed next to the path at the edge of the park to ensure the safety and convenience of park visitors and local residents,” Mr Bishop said.

Cr Cathy Oke said the council had done a significant amount of work with tree expert

From Melbourne Leader see article


Toss the Council’s position and to review the comments and add your own
in the discussion about the hire out of our park. It is amazing to see the
money being generated. If there were no such events then money would not
be required for repair and restoration!
Events now held in parks should be held in purpose built venues not in
parkland used for passive recreation e.g. the Big Day Out – a rock concert –
was in Princes Park and after community opposition was moved to
Flemington Racecourse.
RPPG managed to prevent having polo matches in Royal Park which would
have destroyed the hill top used for passive recreation south of the State
Netball and Hockey Centre.
It is important that Royal Park be protected and preserved for passive
recreation for all including our wildlife. Our wonderful park should not be
seen as just paddocks for hire.

From Melbourne Leader

HAVE YOUR SAY: Melbourne Council rakes in park hire revenue

Royal Park in Parkville was Melbourne Council’s most profitable park during 2009/10. Picture: MATT MURPHY from Melbourne Leader

MELBOURNE Council expects to reap more than $1 million in park hire fees this financial year, prompting claims that resident access is being overlooked in favour of financial gain.

The council’s predicted revenue stands in stark contrast to neighbouring Yarra Council, which projects it will make just $81,522 out of park and sports ground hire in 2011/12.

Melbourne Council chief executive Kathy Alexander said parks were hired for purposes including weddings, personal training, sporting activities and major events.

The council collected $924,315 in 2009/10 and about $676,000 in 2010/11. Estimated revenue for 2011/12 is $1,090,864. For event organisers wanting to hire a section of a park, the cost is $1 per sq m.

Ms Alexander said all revenue was used for service provision and a portion of it was reinvested into parks. But Protectors of Public Lands spokeswoman Julianne Bell said it was “appalling” that public space was being tied up for private or commercial use.

“Access to public open space, parks and gardens for passive recreation is a right of all people of Melbourne, and it is particularly important given Melbourne’s growing population,” Mrs Bell said.

“By hiring it out for specific purposes they (the council) are denying people access to parks and gardens. The city council is there to serve the ratepayers – they’re not a money-making operation.”

Mrs Bell said the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, which occupies the southern part of Carlton Gardens for 18 days and makes the council $110,000 in fees, was an example of people losing access to community parks.

Ms Alexander said a review of the fee structure was underway and would be considered by councillors this financial year.

Greens councillor Cathy Oke said the council needed to be careful how often it closed off areas for private use. But she said the fees were appropriate given the cost of managing and rehabilitating parks after events.

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