Regional parks and recreation spaces were on the agenda at the Central Highlands Regional Council’s Communities Standing Committee meeting recently.
According to CEO Scott Mason, council adopted an Open Space and Recreational Plan that will be reviewed during the course of the new financial year.
‘Some councillors have been approached by constituents concerning park and facilities improvements that were previously included in draft budget papers and have now been pushed into future budgets,’ the CEO explained.
’Indeed, this is the case because the new council wanted to strengthen its financial sustainability, manage the challenges of the changing economy and deal with the reality of reduced grant funding from the state and federal governments.
‘Council’s Open Space and Recreational Plan sets out desired levels of service in open space and recreational areas and a four- tiered hierarchy of places across the region.
’The four tiers provide detail on the level of facilities and embellishments in open space and recreational areas that council can effectively fund, operate and maintain into the future.
‘Council simply cannot fund toilet blocks and playgrounds, paths, irrigation and signage for every park across the region. ‘The community’s expectation often doesn’t meet the reality that council is currently faced with.
‘Rates increases have been kept to a minimum for the 2016-17 Budget and there are many competing priorities in service delivery across the region.
‘Council has made a commitment to review the Open Space and Recreational Plan for the region and determine suitable service standards to meet its budget,’ Mr Mason concluded.
The review will be undertaken by the Committees Standing Committee with regular reports provided to the public in coming months.