Bench debate parked

Jim Memeti, resident Adini Mylazir and younger visitors enjoy the extra seating at Norine Cox Reserve. 249829_02 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The controversial quest for extra seating in Norine Cox Reserve may now have been laid to rest.

Cr Jim Memeti welcomed three new benches into the popular Dandenong South park just two weeks after a furious nationwide debate on the issue.

The councillor had defended himself from “fake news” claims that he was advocating for ‘segregated seating’ after the request at a 23 August council meeting.

He’d raised the issue in response to a group of elderly men sitting on the grass due to a lack of seats.

The men were vacating seats near the playground, which were often used by mothers supervising their children.

“It is Council’s responsibility to make sure that we can supply basic infrastructure in our parks for all our ratepayers to enjoy,” Cr Memeti said at the time.

The new benches were installed with surprising haste due to the council having them in spare stock.

They were already proving popular with residents, including the young ‘hoopers’ waiting to use the basketball half-court, Cr Memeti said.

“It’s a great turnaround and a great outcome. It seems the biggest winners are the kids.”

With up to 200 visitors at the park, there are now suggestions to expand the basketball half-court to full-size and for a cricket pitch.

Public toilets are set to be installed in October in what Cr Memeti says is “the busiest park per square metre in the City of Greater Dandenong”..