Protest can’t save pavilion

Locals protested to keep the pavilion, but were only able to stave off demolition for a couple of months.

BANKS Reserve Pavilion will be demolished after all, with a community protest only slightly delaying its demise.

Vincent councillors were not willing to rescind a 2019 decision to demolish the pavilion, which was made on the basis that it was getting too old and expensive to make compliant with building standards and because its use was lower than other facilities. 

The demolition is part of the Banks Reserve upgrades and eventually an outdoor plaza will go where the pavilion is. 

Brief stay

About 40 locals attended a meeting in May calling on the council to keep the building, leading to a brief stay of demolition.

Mayor Emma Cole agreed to ponder a few alternatives to demolition: Full retention until the plaza was ready to build would cost $210,000, and partial retention would cost $195,000. 

No one on council moved a motion to rescind, finding those retention options too expensive given the pavilion’s trend of lowish use. 

Ms Cole has now issued a letter to locals advising them of the demolition and saying “we understand that many residents remain committed to retaining the old pavilion and will be disappointed. 

“I assure you this hasn’t been an easy decision to make. We have taken time to consider the options carefully, weighing up all factors and seeking solutions for the long term.”

The council will now ponder whether the plaza can have some indoor aspect, given indoor-only uses like the yoga classes that were turfed out of the pavilion have now been displaced.

Those ideas will eventually go out to consultation, but any replacement’s a long ways off as they’ll need consent under the Aboriginal Heritage Act given the riverside site’s significance.

The area will be lawn until then.

by DAVID BELL

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