Hobsons Bay council has declined an opportunity to bid $1 for a large parcel of Mobil land to build a multi-sports complex, leaving sports clubs furious.
High-level negotiations to build a Hobsons Bay sports centre on 16.7 hectares at the corner of Maddox and Kororoit Creek roads have fallen through, leaving many questions unanswered.
The sports proposal, developed between five codes, included 24 tennis courts, 16 netball courts, two football ovals, four basketball courts and four soccer pitches, one of which could double for lacrosse.
Mobil is currently managing a closed tender process following a public expression of interest campaign for the development of the land.
Spokesman Travis Parnaby said Mobil had supported the land being used for a sports precinct and following the council’s participation in the EoI process, it had been invited to tender for the development.
“We are aware that council has declined the offer to participate in the tender for this property,” Mr Parnaby said.
Hobsons Bay’s chief executive Chris Eddy could not say why.
“Due to confidentiality requirements I am unable to comment any further,” Mr Eddy said.
Barnestoneworth United Junior Football Club past president Dave Pettet said the council could have put in a case for social use and submitted a very small nominal figure, believed to be as low as $1.
“Having got the many sporting codes, state government and a major landowner aligned for the good of the community, it’s frustrating to find that this project was seemingly torpedoed by the council executive,” he said.
AFL Victoria chairman Ray Horsburgh said a golden opportunity had gone to waste.
“We’re all disappointed,” he said.
“As a group of junior sports organisations – and it was widespread between Australian football, soccer, tennis, netball, basketball –the whole junior organisations in the city were united because this was a golden opportunity to enhance junior sport in the city.
“I think it fell through because the council didn’t really put their shoulder to the wheel and the government just showed a little bit of politeness but weren’t prepared to get off their arse and put any money into it.”
Councillor Peter Hemphill, who was on the working group for the proposal, said the municipality was now left struggling with a “massive shortfall” of sporting facilities.
“This was a missed opportunity and we’re going to pay very, very dearly if it can’t be resurrected,” he said.
“I was told by Mobil that we could have put in a bid for $1.”