A piazza will replace the pavilion
AFTER two delays Vincent council is to demolish Banks Reserve pavilion, with a last round of petitioners unable to save it.
In 2018 the council decided to replace the ageing pavilion with an open plaza as part of a broader reserve revamp, citing its age, cost to get it up to modern standards, ongoing running cost, and usage levels.
As the bulldozers were about to roll in earlier this year a community protest sprung up. Artist Leon Pericles pleaded with the council to let local volunteers turn it into an arts hub (“Pavilion given another reprieve,” Voice, July 24, 2021).
Demolition was twice stalled, then cancelled ahead of council considering Mr Pericles’ petition at the July 27 meeting.
Several residents gave speeches, with Ian Rawlings saying the area’s ring of busy roads made it “completely impractical” for residents, particularly the elderly, to travel elsewhere to find the exercise and community facilities offered at the pavilion.
“And it is the only facility we have in the neighbourhood, and there is no potential for anything else to put in place to replace it if it is destroyed.
“It is a valued asset in our community … and one that will be sorely missed.”
While councillors did not rescind the 2018 decision, mayor Emma Cole said they took on board the community’s desire for an indoor meeting place and would include an indoor component to the new plaza.
Ms Cole says she’ll move that funding is set aside in the city’s long-term financial plan for detailed design on the indoor part, at the council’s August meeting.
“We will consult on the detailed design,” Ms Cole says, with the current concept “including a kiosk, toilet and kayak storage facilities, carpark upgrades, improved lighting and a bridge over Walters Brook connecting the new nature play area to the plaza.
We will also now include the indoor meeting space based on community feedback.”
There’s no date for demolition set as the contracts were cancelled until the petition could be considered, but it’ll probably happen this year and grass will replace the hall until the plaza’s ready to go.