Volunteers cop spray over van park plans

DISGRUNTLED Seaspray property owners have petitioned Deputy Premier Peter Ryan to force the relocation of the new Seaspray Caravan Park caretaker’s residence.

The petition of 210 signatures cites the need to provide more space in front of the existing Seaspray Hall to allow for extra parking and emergency vehicle access.

Development of the caravan park is being managed by the Seaspray Reserves Committee of Management in accordance with a milestone funding agreement signed with the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

The Seaspray development, with a budget of $4.26 million, is the first time DSE has supported a community committee in directly managing a large scale development.

The volunteer committee has, however, been subject to strident criticism from a number of disaffected present and former residents.

They have objected at various stages to the caravan park’s relocation, the use of the recreation reserve, the chosen method of preserving the park’s McLachlan Memorial Gates and the location of the park caretaker’s residence.

The organisers of the petition, led by John Glover, claim the location of the caretaker’s residence was not indicated in draft plans for the project, which were put out for public approval in 2010.

Mr Glover said subsequent draft plans were not well enough publicised so it was not until construction began that “alarm bells went off for a group of long term residents”.

“The residents felt the plans had not been presented properly and demanded more land in front of the hall, where the land has been taken away,” he said.

In response to a number of letters to the editor from former Seaspray district residents criticising the development, the committee placed a large display advertisement in the Gippsland Times on Tuesday August 7. It read in part:

“The Committee of Management has sought at all times to consult with and embrace the Seaspray and wider Gippsland community in planning for these developments. It has held public meetings, it has circulated plans and proposals within the community, it has attended local community meetings and it has provided a feedback facility through its website. The committee has engaged in extensive discussions with persons within the community who have views they want considered in the planning process. The committee will continue to engage with the community and take account of all matters raised with it in coming to its decisions. We are currently addressing issues raised regarding access to the hall, car parking and the McLachlan Memorial Gates. In the end however, the committee is appointed to make decisions and manage a large scale project for the betterment of present and future residents and visitors to Seaspray. Committee members, acting in a voluntary capacity, have at all times carried out this task diligently, responsibly and to the best of their ability. They will continue to do so.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.