Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : March 9, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 12 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2016
WE CAN all look back at what we
wanted or what we had been prom-
ised, as we were asked to do at a
Cowes Cultural Centre redevelop -
ment meeting on Thursday when
we were told that an upgrade to the
Cultural Centre was being consid-
ered from 1985 under the old Phil-
lip Island Shire.
That was also the case as far as
the establishment of a Phillip Island
Swimming Pool went.
A pool was identified back in the
late seventies as Stage 4 in the de -
velopment of infrastructure on the
Cowes Recreation Reserve, after the
Rec Centre, squash courts and gym-
nasium were built. A pool feasibil-
ity study commissioned by the Shire
of Phillip Island just prior to amal-
gamation was discarded by com-
missioners, along with most other
future plans pertaining to Phillip
Phillip Island Shire had made a
pool commitment pre -1994. The
community will be aware of the battle
that has gone on since.
That is all past history.
But indeed, how have we come to
the current situation.
The consultants that Council chose
to use for the Cowes Activity Centre
Plan (CACP) whose job it was to iden-
tify, in conjunction with the commu-
nity, and key major action projects
and priorities for Cowes.
They did their job, and their rec-
ommendations were adopted by
council in 2015.
At no stage did they recommend a
potential new $9.9 or $11.5 million
Cultural Centre redevelopment.
Our Council has seen a way to po -
tentially obtain grants and appears
to be pursuing those grants without
thinking of any consequences.
Have Council any ideas of exactly
what the entire potential infrastruc-
ture could possible create if it is to be
built on/in this area.
What impact does it do to the so
called tourist parking hub?
An Aquatic Centre and Health Hub
needs 200-plus car parks. We now
think we will have an increase by
potentially 100 plus EFT employees,
plus a theatre for 150 plus and a 300
That’s today. What about the fu-
The recent CACP consultation
didn’t give any advice on such large
Why can’t we go back to their re-
port? They did lay out a way forward,
which Council has chosen to ignore.
Well why have consultants?
They did outline there would be an
Aquatic Centre and Health Hub.
Let’s plan properly
Let’s start there and properly plan the
entire site before we race off and make
potentially the wrong decisions.
The current architects should be giv-
en a dollar figure limit to work to, and
asked to show us what the Shire can get
for that amount.
The Shire should not give them what
we would like and then let them loose to
design a masterpiece.
Within the current brief the architects
say there will be rain water harvesting.
Is that to be stored under the parking
hub? What about the potential for geo
thermal or solar heating?
Nothing seems to be being considered
as an overall project.
I believe it is essential to halt and con-
sider all aspects before proceeding.
“A Plan to make Cowes great” by M R
Cagney and John Mangard Landscape
Architects resulted in the Cowes Activ-
ity Centre Plan, which was adopted in its
entirety by the council.
Council was given two lists of priority
projects to do, in Section 5.5.
The works are outlined as follows:
1. Roundabout and Main Street Land-
scape $8500 time frame Jan/Feb.
2. Irrigation to Erehwon Point $10,000
time frame Feb/Mar/April
3. Promenade Walk $58,500 time
4. Foreshore Painting Project $30,000
5. Tidy up signage / bin locations
6. Cultural Precinct – Town Square
7. Exeloo Screen / Plantings $20,000
8. Signage Removal Project $10,000
9. Cowes Bins / Gardeners Works
10. New Paint to Street Furniture
11. Enforcing local laws $5000
12. Anzac Memorial Platforms
$10,000 estimated Council contribu-
Total outlay $230,000
Major Action Priority Projects
1. The Jetty Triangle Parkland
2. All Day Carpark $775,000
3. Transit Centre $560,000
4. Mussel Rocks $570,000
Secondary Action Projects
1. Thompson Avenue North $4.1mil-
2. Thompson Street / Chapel Street
3. The Missing Link – Cultural pre-
cinct $510,000 (Now blown out to $9.9
4. New Bus stop on Thompson Av-
5. Bikeways on Thompson Avenue
6. Lovers Walk $80,000
7. Foreshore Esplanade $1 million
8. Town bikeway and footpath
In the “Appendix” from this consul-
tation, re infrastructure the following
points are listed:
1. Extend library and heritage centre
2. Build a heated public pool (empha-
3. Build a cinema (emphasised)
4. Build a 24 hour medical centre (em-
5. Build a hospital (emphasised)
6. Build a secondary school (empha-
7. Build a better skate park (empha-
All the above comes from the pages of
“A Plan to make Cowes great” by MRCag-
ney and John Mangard Landscape Ar-
In part, in response to recent corre-
spondence to The Advertiser (March 2
2016) in support of priority being given
to proceeding with the redevelopment of
the Cultural Centre, I strongly agree that
anyone should be free to express their
point of view, in regards to the priority
of ranking capital projects planned for
Cowes under the draft ‘Cowes Activity
Hardly a ringing endorsement
The correspondent seems to have
missed the point as to the assumed level
of community support for the redevelop-
ment of the Cultural Centre.
Only some 132 responses were re-
corded in the ‘Bullseye Target’,
claimed marquee attendees of 360, after
the invitation to attend had been sent to
The 132 represents just 1% of the po-
tential responses, hardly a ringing en-
And, of those 132, only 76 recorded a
strongly supportive response within the
It beggars belief that based on those
miniscule figures of ‘support’; Council
seems to be proposing to spend $9.9
million (or is it $11.5mil?) on redevelop-
ing the Cultural Centre
When the Phillip Island Aquatic Cen-
tre Committee asked residents whether
they supported the building of the Phil-
lip Island Aquatic Centre, they received
over 727 responses in the affirmative,
with only 9 in the negative.
I am at a loss to understand why Bass
Coast Council seems to be (perhaps in-
advertently) setting up a scenario that
is forcing members of various Phillip
Island residents’ groups to be at logger-
heads with each other.
It has done this by announcing the
consultancy for the Cowes Activity
Centre Plan, sounding out community
responses as to the priority of major
capital projects for Cowes and then
seemingly ignoring that community
response, which did not place the re-
development of the Cultural Centre, as
even one of the first three priorities, and
certainly not at anywhere near the level
of the now presumed $9.9 ($11.5 mil?)
I am sure that none of the interested
groups wants to be, or be perceived to
be, provocatively opposing other inter-
ested parties; but that is what they are
being seen to do.
Just as critically, Bass Coast Council
seems to have no overall master plan for
the full development of the site including
and surrounding the current Cultural
Centre and the current Library.
Such things as how all the component
parts of the site would fit together: what
funding streams will be accessed (Coun-
cil funding, borrowings, grants from
State and Federal governments, etc):
timings of each of the stages of develop-
ment; provision for means of heating,
lighting and powering the structures (so-
lar? geothermal? other means?); or any
planned innovative building proposals.
Instead Council seems to be ‘cherry
picking’ the Cultural Centre redevelop-
ment to proceed with in isolation.
It would be very interesting to have ac-
cess to the brief Council provided to the
architects for the Cultural Centre rede-
Have they lost their way?
Perhaps it is time for the Council to
call a halt and ask itself; ‘Have we lost
The only way to ascertain the true level
of support for the Cultural Centre rede-
velopment (and the Jetty Triangle rede-
velopment and the creation of the Urban
Transport Hub), ranked against other
competing capital projects, including the
Cowes Aquatic Centre and the planned
new Medical Centre, is for Council to
formally ask the whole of Phillip Island
(or Shire-wide for that matter) what they
believe should be the priority ranking of
Council could send a letter to every
residential and commercial property, re-
questing a response from the occupiers/
absentee owners to rank all the major
capital projects proposed, with provi-
sion to include recognition of the num-
ber of responders from each household/
Requested responses could be de-
signed to uniquely identify all responses
by addresses, including postcodes.
The results of the plebiscite should be
publicly available to all interested par-
In particular, a choice for funding ma-
jor capital projects in Cowes seems obvi-
• An Aquatic Centre which has been
under consideration for the past 25
years and now has Council approval
to build, plus, a location chosen using
Council and State Government guide-
lines: estimated cost $10 – 12 million
• OR: The redevelopment of the Cowes
Community Centre into the Great Hall
and associated buildings/rooms - esti-
mated cost $9.9 ($11.5?) million
• All of the above? To the priority sur-
I understand that, currently, we will
not be able to show much of our local
history in the new Cultural Centre build-
Nor will other existing (PICAL, U3A)
groups have the ability to operate as ef-
ficiently and effectively as they currently
Yes, those problems may be able to
be fixed, and it is the business of those
groups, not mine, to assure themselves
that their concerns can and will be ad-
A couple of other points: Yes we would
have a bigger Library and increased fa-
cilities for art and culture. But I fail to
see where Council benefits financially.
Isn’t the library run and operated by
West Gippsland and isn’t the arts com-
munity largely operated by and largely
run for the financial benefit of private
Should an expanded theatre space be
included in the Centre or should that be
a privately funded development inde-
pendent of the Centre?
As far as having an increase in EFT
staff working in the building (which I
understand, as a claimed employment
generating project, is a major compo-
nent of attempting to source State and
Federal government funding) what new
business/s has/have agreed to set up in
the planned new Cultural Centre?
Or is it merely a case of moving ex-
isting employees from one place to the
It is time we woke up; money is tight
unless someone is prepared to fund this
expansion, why should a few obtain the
majority of the benefits when the major-
In comparing the relative merits of
the planned redeveloped Cultural Cen-
tre and the Aquatic Centre, it is difficult
to understand the thinking of some
people; at least our tourist/holiday home
owners who come to the island would
benefit from a safer way to swim.
And many of our permanent residents
would have an enhanced ability to learn
to swim in an easier fashion.
And then there all the physical (and
mental) health benefits that come with
using an aquatic centre.
The Aquatic centre is planned to be
built right beside our New Health Hub
recently articulated by MHR Greg Hunt.
The plan is for a hydrotherapy pool to
be built within the health hub, potential-
ly giving great health benefits for all ages.
Tourism drives the economy of Phil-
lip Island. I know which would receive
more revenue. Can we charge our tour-
ists to walk through the planned Great
Hall, while passing through on their way
to visit our great array of dining and
Aren’t we a nature tourist island loca-
tion, or did I miss something?
Does anyone seriously believe that
tourists visiting Phillip Island would
say: ‘We are going to Phillip Island to
see their Great Hall’ or rather ‘At least
we can swim in the new Aquatic Centre
if the sea is too cold or too dangerous,
and we can keep fit while visiting Phillip
I offer up a challenge to Council to,
once and for all, decide the right order of
priority to proceed with the competing
capital development projects planned
for Phillip Island, by formally giving all
the residents/ratepayers a choice.
They, not Council in isolation, should
determine what should be built first on
And then Council should provide an
easily accessible, comprehensive, mas-
ter plan for all of the planned capital
expenditure developments in the terms
Until those two courses of action are
undertaken, Council should call a halt
to its current focus on just the Cultural
Centre, Urban Transit Hub and Jetty
(All figures quoted either come from
BCSC website or PIACF Inc recorded
MANAGING depression is like be-
ing lost at sea, treading water.
Things are OK while the water is
nice and calm but, when a storm
kicks up or the swell rises, life be-
comes a struggle.
On Phillip Island in the past year,
too many men have committed sui-
cide. Our rate of male suicide and
depression is significantly higher
than other parts of Victoria and
There are many reasons why men
on the island feel overwhelmed, de-
spondent and hopeless.
When faced with these feelings or
feelings of depression, most men
don’t seek help or the support of
This is part of our male culture
and something that we can’t easily
What we know and what can
make a difference is men finding
an outlet to help them ‘ride the blue
That is, having an activity that al-
lows them to take their mind off the
troubles at hand and concentrate
on exercising the creative side of
When given an opportunity to
participate in this type of activity
with other like-minded men, an in-
formal support group and coping
mechanism is formed.
This is the premise behind Riding
the Blue Wave.
As a mental health and human
service professional for the past 25
years and a professional photogra-
pher, Dale Roger understands the
debilitating condition of depression
and how photography can offer a
creative outlet to assist overcoming
those times of deepest despair.
By focusing on seeing light as a
photographer and focusing on the
way light, shade and colour define
shapes and capturing these in im-
ages which you can creatively edit
or manipulate, our right brain is
exercised and temporarily blocks
out the depression haunting the left
side, Dale says.
“And through interacting, learning
and shooting with other men who
may also be significantly impacted
by depression, we each understand
and identify with the other.”
Riding the Blue Wave is a free and
voluntary support group for Phillip
Island men suffering from depres-
sion or the symptoms of depression
facilitated by local photographers
and human services professionals.
We meet each Sunday evening
6:00pm at Woolamai Beach - where
the ramp leads down to the beach.
If you or someone you know is
interested in attending or want
more information either show up
at 6pm, message us, emaildale@
photorangers.com.au or message
dale at 0466-539-927 and Cecilia at
We will be having our first meet-
ing on Cape Woolamai on 20 March
Riding the Blue Wave
Think again on Cultural Centre redevelopment
Peter McMahon has urged the Bass Coast Shire Council to ask the com-
munity to rank its priorities for development.
By Peter McMahon,
Phillip Island resident
Links Archive March 2, 2016 Edition March 17, 2016 Edition Navigation Previous Page Next Page