Frustration over new JC Lowe Oval precinct entry
As the Yarrawonga Holiday Park charges forward with its master plan and subsequent boom gate at the existing park, entry user groups are left frustrated with an “unworkable” planned new road entry into the JC Lowe Oval Precinct.
Despite the efforts of user groups and various stakeholders in coming up with an agreed path forward following concerns about the new road entry’s inability to consider issues related to access and parking, Moira Shire Council has proceeded with a tender for a the new road entry with a completion date planned for early next year.
Chairman of the Section 86 Committee for the JC Lowe Oval Precinct Ross Mulquiney said the volunteer group charged with the responsibility of maintaining and caring for the Grove Oval/JC Lowe precinct was very concerned the Moira planned roadway, with the entry point next to the current swimming pool complex, did not meet the needs of user groups.
“These concerns have been raised in person with the shire and put into writing clearly and succinctly at both the executive and representative level and no response has been provided,” Mr Mulquiney said
“The group’s view is the current proposal is simply unworkable from a practical perspective and lacking in any vision, whether that be for the precinct’s current usage or usage into the future.”
Mr Mulquiney said groups such as the Burramine Sports Club and the Godfathers Association had invested countless hours to provide these facilities for the community.
They, along with the Yarrawonga Netball Football Club and The Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club, ensure the precinct is capable of providing an excellent venue for football, tennis and various events such as the Lake Mulwala Rod Run held just last weekend.
“The current proposal to build a 200 metre entry way, which does not even reach the oval, is not adequate.
“The area is Yarrawonga’s and the shire’s premier sporting facility and our shire executive is refusing to discuss the matter with its citizens and delegated groups.
“I would urge residents to voice their concerns,” Mr Mulquiney said.
The Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club (YLTC) committee has also voiced its concerns in what they have described as an “ill-thought out plan and short-term fix” in regards to the planned new entry road that could see their clubhouse landlocked.
In a statement provided to the Yarrawonga Chronicle, the YLTC committee strongly opposed the construction of a 200 metre road without any future budget allocation and a timeline for the proposed total works.
“This road impacts not only the tennis club but all user groups within the park and there is no surety over the location of future car parking or a commitment of funding to finish the entire project,” the committee statement said.
“The YLTC have limited boundaries in which to relocate existing infrastructure, thus identifying an urgent need for boundaries to be ratified.”
Chairman of the Holiday Park Committee Geoff Campbell said the committee is working with user groups for the best outcome and wants to see a completed masterplan for the whole park which includes the user groups.
“The Yarrawonga Holiday Park Committee believes it is imperative a master plan is prepared for the user groups of this camping and sporting complex,” Mr Campbell said.
“The safety of patrons of the holiday park is of paramount importance for our growing tourist trade,” Mr Campbell said.
Moira Shire Chief Executive Officer Mark Henderson said since council and the Yarrawonga Holiday Park Committee renewed a long standing lease, the essential elements of the lease had not changed for the past 20 years other than the new lease requires both parties to invest in the park and surrounding recreation reserve.
“With the JC Lowe Oval entry works, council is meeting its commitment to improve public access into the reserve managed by the council’s Section 86 committee,” Mr Henderson said.
“The access road upgrade is a straight forward project of an existing poorly defined road formation which will provide dedicated and safe vehicle and pedestrian access into and out of the reserve.
“Once we have a response to tender we can review the scope of work and funding allocation and the user groups have been invited to provide feedback on this project.
“The Yarrawonga Holiday Park Committee is progressively delivering its obligations to upgrade the park and the recently completed splash park project is a great example of this.
“For many years there has been uncontrolled access through the holiday park that various groups and visitors have taken for granted, however this exposes the committee to considerable risk.
“I’d be confident that local solutions can be found, through continued discussion and goodwill, to address the legitimate needs of all user groups that enjoy the reserve and the river.
“In the longer term, as Yarrawonga continues to grow, we’ll need to look for ways to expand river-based recreation access without it being centred on the Yarrawonga Holiday Park,” Mr Henderson said.
Limited access has tourism impact
The Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism and Business shared its concerns about the planned restrained access to the JC Lowe precinct and river surrounds.
YMTB Executive Noel Wright said the precinct as a whole created incredible economic benefits from a tourism perspective and any change to its overall dynamics requires considerable thought and strategic planning.
“From a tourism perspective we would encourage that access to the existing boat ramp facilities are maintained until any new facilities are completed.
“The current facility has huge tourism value to the area. Yarrawonga Mulwala’s collective facilities all contribute to the visitor experience, drive regional demand and support the economic impact on the local tourism supply chain.
“The community at large stages many important events in this precinct and visitors who use the precinct for recreational purposes such as fishing and camping, all helps drive economic wealth in the area.
“Limiting access to the boat ramp and other facilities without developing parking, suitable access roads and a new boat ramp facility would be detrimental and have major impacts on visitor expectations and tourism,” Mr Wright said.