Celebrating and commiserating

Macedon Ranges' amended budget has some celebrating and others commiserating, following its adoption last week.

Parks, sporting facilities and recreation developments are some of the assets funded for 2013/14 in the $17 million in capital works budget. A $6.2 million road and bridge works program will benefit the whole shire.

Projects of interest include the Hanging Rock infrastructure upgrades, works at Barkly Square Pavilion and Romsey Sports Precinct, playground projects at Romsey and Kyneton, and transfer station upgrades at Woodend and Kyneton.

Funding for the projects will come from rates, charges, loans and land sales.

Kyneton Bluestone Theatre funding was a late, and much-welcomed, addition to the budget. Council has committed $90,000, subject to a $290,000 government grant and about $20,000 in community contribution.

A similar promise was made to Kyneton Community Park with council offering $100,000 as part of a grant application for a further $300,000 in government money.

Park organisers have called it a great win for the town and its residents.

"We'd like to congratulate the council for its vision and commitment in supporting a project that will offer wide community benefits for Kyneton residents of all ages and abilities," Kyneton Community Park president, Amy Cockroft said.

"This park will be a wonderful and vital part of our town's recreational infrastructure as well as providing an iconic attraction for visitors far and wide.

"As a project with broad community benefit, council's support for the park puts it on a strong footing to attract additional funding from state and federal governments."

In Gisborne, the $1.02 million netball courts development will go ahead, to the relief of the ever-growing netball association.

The shire-wide asset has come at a cost to four parcels of open space land in Gisborne. Council called the land surplus and agreed to sell it to help fund the courts, but residents who say they paid extra to live near the reserve are dismayed at the loss.

Namnan Way resident and mother of four, Leah Jury, is among the residents who appealed to council not to sell the reserves.

"It's what's going to be here for our kids' future, it's not just about now and money, it's about health and lifestyle, and animals and environment," she said.

"The street's got 25-plus kids in it. Up to 10 kids are there at a time through the weekend, sometimes they have a kick of the footy, a lot of the times you see kids out there climbing the trees, people are always playing with their dogs.

"If you go out and have a look now there's a rope on the tree where my daughters were out there climbing trees."

Council deemed the land surplus because nothing was done with it in terms of community action for playground or barbecue area funding. Ms Jury said she questioned a council officer more than a year ago about putting a playground at the site and never had a response.

It is the second time Namnan Way residents have fought to keep the site.

Ms Jury and her neighbours plan to take the matter to the Ombudsman and to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Also in Gisborne, UL Daly Nature Reserve neighbours and visitors are disappointed the site again has council support to house the Gisborne Early Years Hub. But many others are relieved the decision has contributed to an average rate rise drop from the proposed 6.9 per cent to now 4.9 per cent.

* What do you think of the Macedon Ranges 2013/14 budget? Leave a comment below.

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