Sovereign Hill block sale: residents petition

MAGPIE Street resident Peter Wills says a petition is gathering enough momentum to make Ballarat City Council and Sovereign Hill take note – proof that a corner of land in Golden Point is valuable to the community.

A Golden Point residents’ group collected almost 150 signatures at the weekend in protest at Sovereign Hill plans to sell surplus land at the corner of Magpie and Bradshaw streets.

The group is concerned that residents were not openly consulted about potential residential development of the site, which had been used as a public space for decades.

Mr Wills said the group collected more than 100 signatures after visiting three pubs and a bowls club in the area on Saturday.

A community barbecue on the site had neighbours trickling in to add their names to the petition on Sunday morning, and Mr Wills was confident that many more would join the cause.

“We haven’t got the numbers here (at the barbecue), but we’ve got the support,” Mr Wills said.

“This is a park – not a car park and not a real estate development.

“This is a public asset and should remain that way.”

Mr Wills said the petition was on the way to matching a similar stand from White Flat residents against a proposed 52 units in Hickman Street that the  council unanimously voted against last week.

The Sovereign Hill owned land includes a cricket pitch, cricket training nets and a large asphalted area.

Sovereign Hill chief executive officer Jeremy Johnson told The Courier last week the surplus land needed to be sold to expand the park in a larger parcel of land along Magpie Street.

Mr Johnson said Sovereign Hill had always allowed community access to the site, which the park had owned since 1997, however there were other recreational facilities nearby.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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