A private business is asking Hobsons Bay council to let it build a $1.3 million yoga and wellness centre on public land in Williamstown in return for the longest lease possible.
Saltwater Studios director Eva Buman is proposing to finance the centre, which would include a 25-metre pool, on the site of the disused women’s bowls club at Dennis Reserve.
“The idea is that they [the council] own the land and the building, and us paying for the building would be like paying rent forward,” she said.
“We just know that the community really needs this, they really want it, and we just want to make it happen for them.
“A few people have to said to us, ‘But you’re a business’, and my response is always, ‘Well, not all businesses are just about money’.
“I’m fourth-generation Williamstown girl and I really care about the community here.”
Ms Buman said she would “love” a 99-year lease.
“We’d be looking for more than just a 20 year lease – I don’t think 20 years is very long,” she said.
“This is my life’s work. This is what I want to do until I die.”
As reported by Star Weekly, the council has adopted a master plan for Dennis Reserve, ending a long-running dispute between those who wanted more tennis courts and advocates for open space.
The plan includes demolishing the former bowling green and pavilion, Williamstown Central Tennis Club pavilion and two existing courts, and construction of four new courts and a central open-space area.
Mayor Jonathon Marsden said work was due to start within the next 12 months.
“Council has not previously leased out land to private businesses for the construction of their own recreational facility,” he said.
“We do, however, have a very successful track record of leasing out our own leisure facilities to private enterprises to operate and maintain.
“This is the arrangement we have with Bayfit Leisure Centre, Altona Badminton Association and South Pacific Health Club Williamstown.”
Saltwater’s proposal is among 37 budget submissions under consideration until the 2019-20 budget is adopted on June 25.