Hepburn Shire Council will spend $285,000 patching up Creswick’s botched Doug Lindsay Reserve instead of committing to a more costly permanent fix.
The brand new multimillion-dollar reserve, deemed unsuitable for football due to its abrasive surface posing a risk to players, will be laid with new top-dressing and turf in a bid to get the facility up and running in time for the 2013 season.
To pay for the works, the council will reallocate money previously earmarked for other projects, including shoulder sealing and the Hepburn netball court upgrade.
At its meeting last night the council considered four options, ranging from spending $110,000 on the site to $485,000 for a full renovation – the only option with a long-term guarantee.
Creswick Ward councillor Janine Booth said the $285,00 patch-up proposal was a good balance and the best option for the community.
Birch Ward councillor Rod May said he was confident it was a viable solution, while Cameron Ward councillor Neil Newitt described it as “a responsible way of going forward”.
But speaking against the motion, Holcombe Ward councillor Bill McClenaghan said the answer was to fix problems, not cover them up and repeat the mistakes of the past.
“We’re cutting corners, we’re saving money and we’re doing a less than good job to get this oval playable by next year,” he said. “There’s always going to be to be a mullock heap and rocks underneath.”
Earlier, Creswick Ward councillor Don Henderson had moved an unsuccessful motion to support the $485,000 option, saying the people of Creswick had waited for 20 years for the facility.
“We’re the ones who either messed this project up or allowed it to be messed up.”
More than $2.24 million was provided from the federal government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program to build the new recreation space, with contributions from the Creswick Football Netball Club, the Bendigo Bank and community fundraising.
Council officers said a number of factors contributed to the poor condition of the ground, including the timing of the development and the use of reclaimed topsoil.