By Casey Neill
Greater Dandenong Council has set aside $6 million for acquiring open space.
At their Monday 8 August meeting, councillors voted to split the current Open Space Reserve Fund in two – half for planning, developing and improving existing open space and half for buying new space.
The council will create and transfer $6 million into the sub-account from 1 September.
Cr Sean O’Reilly said the decision represented a landmark day for the city.
“This policy helps to give back where there may be deficits or undersupply of open space in the municipality in a fair way,” he said.
He said more apartments and townhouses were being built in Greater Dandenong.
“Naturally it will happen that kids won’t have as much of their own open space,” he said.
“We don’t want kids only playing football and soccer on the Xbox.
“We want them outside getting the blood pumping for their long-term health and for better social interaction.”
Cr O’Reilly said the council had already identified areas lacking in open space and created an open space reserve fund.
“The piece that was missing, was a mechanism to identify potential new open space sites,” he said.
“This council does a great job at activating our existing open space.
“The piece that this report addresses is where some areas of the municipality are open-space poor that over time – over the years and decades – we can restore some of that balance and increase council assets in the form of land that will appreciate over time.
“This allows us to act in a systemised fashion on the open space front.
“This policy will mean that the City of Greater Dandenong will restore the outdoors to the great outdoors.”