The 2016 Brownlow Medallist, Patrick Dangerfield, has added his voice to the need for more open recreation space in Aireys Inlet.
The Geelong Cats star player was one of more than 100 local residents who attended a community meeting I convened last Thursday at the Aireys Pub.
A resident of nearby Moggs Creek, Patrick Dangerfield spoke passionately about the need for more recreation space for families and children including those playing for the Aireys Inlet Eels Football Club.
The meeting, which was facilitated by local doctor Paul Talman, heard from local resident Tim Wood who is seeking to purchase some 80 acres of private land in the Painkalac Valley. Mr Wood and his wife Caroline run Blazing Saddles and currently lease this land for their horse-riding operation.
The meeting provided the community with the opportunity to have a constructive discussion about this proposal including whether there might be an opportunity to transfer some of this land into public hands.
Over recent years, many locals have voiced their concerns to me about the lack of public recreation space in the town. Other local residents including members of the Aireys Inlet Development Association are opposed to any change to the valley. I appreciate this has been a contentious issue over many years and that any change in use to the valley should be minimal and not impact in any respect on the local environment.
At present there is only a half size oval at Aireys Inlet Primary School. This has particularly impacted on junior sporting clubs and local children, including those playing cricket, football and soccer.
Council planning restrictions mean there is currently no other designated recreation space in Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven or Moggs Creek. Principal of Aireys Inlet Primary School, Meg Parker, told the meeting that school students needed another option as the school oval was just too small.
As the population in Aireys, Fairhaven and Moggs Creek continues to grow, investing in better community facilities will become more of a priority.
As the Federal Member for Corangamite, consulting with and listening to the community is an integral part of my job. I look forward to continuing to work with community members to support their aspirations for families and the generation to come.
5 October 2016
Photo: With Patrick Dangerfield and Paul Talman, Coach Aireys Inlet Eels Football Club