Decision making at Monash Council does not appear to have changed. Residents using Gardiners Reserve indicate they have had no say in the choice of pitch to be laid, fencing or lighting. EM&U have been asking for several years for Council to consult with stakeholders at the beginning of the decision making process. Stakeholder representatives should be involved in the process from the very beginning and have a role throughout the whole process. Instead we see the usual token effort to involve stakeholders at the last stages.
It is hard to understand how Council has decided on a synthetic pitch yet has no information to pass to residents. On what basis did Council make the decision for a synthetic pitch? Has a procurement contract been signed? If so, with whom? During the 2016 election the community asked for transperancy. The Department of Local Government has called for transperancy. Monash Ratepayers has called for transperancy. Yet the decision about pitch at Gardeners Reserve appears to be far from transparent.
When will the ‘Have Your Say’ section on the Monash Council web site have the option for community members to add items they would like to have a say about?
Below: Letter from resident to EM&U 28 Feb 2017
Dear Empowering Monash and You,
I am writing to you as a resident of Monash with regards to Council’s proposal for a Synthetic pitch at Gardiners Reserve, Sixth Avenue, Burwood.
This major decision seems to have already been made in regards to the type of pitch surface, fencing and lighting without community consultation or understanding the community’s needs. Council are proceeding with a design for an estimated project cost of $2.9 million which will be decided on in the 2017/18 budget.
As residents, we were first informed by reading an article in the Monash Leader in January that mentioned the synthetic pitch, and not by council itself. We rang immediately and within a few days received a letter in the mail, with promise of a consultation in February.
We have since received a second letter inviting us to an informal consultation at Gardiners Reserve on the evening of March 9, with an opportunity to:
– hear about what is being proposed
– understand what the scope of works would be, if Council decides to fund the proposal in its 2017/18 budget
– understand why Gardiners Reserve has been chosen for the proposed synthetic pitch; and
– ask any questions we may have about e project and discuss any concerns.
We are very concerned that the decision to proceed with a synthetic pitch over alternative treatments seems to have already been made, and that we are being consulted very late in the process and are not being given the opportunity to have input into any decisions which will directly affect us.
Despite our requests for information on the decision process so far from Council officers, Councillors and the CEO we have not received any information, and are being told that we have to wait for the consultation to take place.
Worryingly, the consultation on 9 March is not listed in the ‘have your say’ page on Council’s website, and we fear that it may be limited to only one or two streets despite the wider community using this open space.
We hope that you will be able to offer us your valuable advice and support in this matter.
[name and contact details supplied]