A NEW basketball stadium and swimming pool are among the key projects council will advocate for heading into next year’s state and federal elections.

Council will lobby for funding for a $31 million upgrade of Pines Forest Aquatic Centre, a $45 million project to build a district basketball and gymnastics stadium at the Frankston Basketball Stadium, a $6 million expansion of local recycled water programs, a new $4 million playground at Sandfield Reserve in Carrum Downs, and a $6 million proposal to create a 7.2 kilometer long public art trail from the Frankston Foreshore to McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery.

Council has committed $30.2 million in ratepayer funding towards the five projects. It is seeking $31.4 million from the state government and $29.8 million from the federal government.

Newly appointed Frankston mayor Nathan Conroy said events are being planned to promote the projects to the community and to other levels of government. “We’ve been having conversations with our local members of parliament and candidates about these and a range of other projects and have early indications of support for these projects,” he said.

“While the identified priorities have been limited in order to provide a succinct and prioritised list for members of parliament and candidates, there are other ongoing opportunities to advocate for funding.”

Cr Kris Bolam said that council has already met with more than “30 federal ministers and shadow ministers in Canberra and [held] meetings with various state ministers and shadow ministers to influence decision-making that will benefit our community.”

A previously planned redevelopment of the Frankston Basketball Stadium fell apart in 2017 when lease negotiations between Frankston & District Basketball Association and Frankston Council collapsed.

The Frankston Basketball Stadium saga came to a head in 2018 when former Dunkley MP Chris Crewther made explosive allegations of serious misconduct under the protection of parliamentary privilege. The findings of a subsequent investigation into the FDBA were not released due to “legal professional privilege” (“Investigation into basketball board remains private”, The Times, 18/2/19).

The $5.2 million which was allocated by the federal government to the Frankston Basketball Stadium project was later diverted to the Jubilee Park redevelopment.

In response to the news that council would once again be pursuing funding for the redevelopment of the basketball stadium, FDBA CEO Wayne Holdsworth said “this is a wonderful step forward for our Association, a $45 million dollar investment into basketball facilities at Bardia Avenue.”

“Our next challenge is to secure the funding, $30 million from state and federal governments to match the third contribution committed by council. This is a very positive day for the FDBA,” he said.

FDBA President Tim Bower echoed the praise, saying “this was an extremely positive announcement for our 8,000 membership and the opportunity to provide more courts and better facilities for our membership is very welcomed.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 30 November 2021