A Wyndham councillor has questioned the community value of rebuilding Chirnside Park’s heritage timber grandstand.
Speaking at last week’s council meeting, councillor Josh Gilligan said he believed spending $290,000 to rebuild and relocate the old grandstand was a waste of ratepayers money – but added that the council’s hands were tied and the rebuild would go ahead as originally planned.
The grandstand, which has been dismantled, will be rebuilt as part of the $11.75 million Chirnside Park redevelopment.
“I’m incredibly frustrated as a councillor to be essentially bound to the building of this thing because of a decision, in large part, of the previous term of council,” he said.
“I don’t know whether residents were fully aware that it was going to cost up to $290,000 in terms of the reconstruction of this particular grandstand – $250,000 in relation to the construction and the relocation of it, and $40,000 in relation to the storage and deconstruction of this particular grandstand.
“So, $290,000 for a grandstand which has minimal usability … I don’t think it’s justifiable.”
Fellow councillor Mia Shaw, who supported Cr Gilligan’s comments, said she was concerned the grandstand would become a “museum piece” that won’t be used and enjoyed by the community. She was also concerned that the grandstand won’t be accessible by people with disabilities or mobility issues.
“I hear different views in the community about the heritage value of the timber grandstand – some see heritage value, others don’t see the building as significant, or think it should be relocated elsewhere.
“The most successful heritage projects are those that both respect and retain the building’s heritage significance, but provide value for the community.”
However, councillor Heather Marcus said she was looking forward to seeing the grandstand rebuilt.
“I think this is so sad. We have so little heritage left in this city.
“We cannot afford to lose more of our history and heritage.”