Cr Wendy Buck, by her own admission, left last week’s ordinary meeting “very disappointed” in her fellow councillors after her notice of motion regarding Yarrawonga’s all abilities playground equipment failed to secure a seconder.
This was despite the fact Cr Peter Mansfield was listed in the agenda as an official supporter of the motion “that Moira Shire Council include a disability wheelchair swing to the all abilities playground in Yarrawonga”.
When the notice of motion was brought before council, at the meeting held last Wednesday in Yarrawonga, Cr Mansfield said he would only second the motion if the word “include” was changed to “investigate”; Cr Buck responded by saying she did not accept that amendment and no other councillor raised their hand to second the motion therefore it lapsed.
After Mayor Gary Cleveland called the motion as lapsed, Cr Buck stood and said she was “extremely disappointed in each and every one of you around the table…this equipment was stipulated in the original motion and recorded in the Chronicle and you have now gone back on your word”.
Cr Buck spoke with the Yarrawonga Chronicle after the meeting and reiterated her frustration with the eight other councillors.
“I was very disappointed in my fellow councillors at last week’s council meeting not seconding the motion before council to support the inclusion of a wheelchair swing in the all abilities playground for Yarrawonga, which was in the original proposal,” Cr Buck told the Chronicle.
“As you know I have been very passionate about an all abilities playground for Yarrawonga from its community conception, and with the support of my previous councillors and community I have been able to keep the project moving along to a stage where we are ready to go.
“Without my knowledge the new council has been planning amongst themselves to change the equipment for our Yarrawonga all abilities playground and take it back to committee.
“It could be years before we get a playground if this happens.
“The importance of this playground and the inclusion of a wheelchair swing for Moira Shire is a priority, not something that should go back to committee at this late stage.
“Although being undermined by my eight fellow councillors, I will fight on to support our disabled children as we currently have no disability playground equipment and I will continue to champion the all abilities playground and see this project through.
“If my fellow councillors want to go start the process again there is an opportunity for them to do that in Cobram and leave our playground alone.”
According to Cr Buck Moira Shire Council’s Open Space Fund contains enough money in it to cover the cost of a disability swing.
“For no one to second the motion it didn’t allow for a discussion or even allow for an alternative motion to be put up, the lack of action stifled the whole conversation,” Cr Buck said.
“I would like to acknowledge Kaitlyn Cummins, the original proponent of an all abilities playground for Yarrawonga, for bringing the concept to council.
“Even though she decided not to proceed with the idea in Yarrawonga it is still worthwhile and I have pursued it by ensuring the original funding dedicated to Kaitlyn’s project stayed in Yarrawonga.
“It is a brilliant idea and I support it one hundred percent.”
Cr Buck said even if council could get a portion of Kaitlyn’s concept up “it would be a legacy of the vision she had”.
“There is an all abilities swing in the current plans however I think we need to go one step further and include a wheelchair swing,” she said.
“I was led to believe I had the support of my fellow councillors and then when it came time, behind my back the councillors had discussed the issue and come up with an alternate motion without communicating this to me.
“I am hoping that all the equipment is ordered, the fencing, the play equipment with or without the wheelchair swing.
“I am hoping the community will get behind this and look at further stages to partner with council and develop this playground further.”
Moira Shire’s General Manager Infrastructure Andrew Close confirmed with the Chronicle on Monday the shire had started works to update the Yarrawonga foreshore playground “to create a playground that is accessible and enjoyable for all ages and abilities”.
“We engaged a consultant to provide specialist advice on the mix of play equipment, the selection of plants and landscaping of the playground,” Mr Close said.
“The design includes an all abilities swing (inclusive basket swing), a rope climbing tower as well as plants, surfaces and equipment that cater to sight, smell and sound.
“We look forward to reopening the inclusive playground in about six weeks, assuming the weather allows the works to be completed as per our schedule.
“Until then, and to ensure safety of community and staff, no public access is permitted within the fenced area but access along the foreshore is not impacted.”