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Moreland Greens Set to Vandalise Public Parkland on Rogers Memorial Reserve

Protectors of Public Lands say that notice has been received that the “Greens” Mayor Samantha Ratnam will, tomorrow at 4:30 pm, preside over a “Sod-Turning Ceremony” to mark the start of construction of a monster Moreland Council-funded community/medical centre on Rogers Memorial Reserve in Pascoe Vale. If you can come to the "sod turning ceremony" we will be having a silent vigil of protest. Bring a sign. Come to the Rogers Memorial Reserve on Prospect Street (off Cumberland Road) in the parking area near the Pascoe Vale Swimming Pool. Melways Page 17 A8.

In the eyes of residents and community groups this represents gross vandalism of public parkland and destruction of a heritage War Memorial and commemorative trees, including a “Lone Pine” of Gallipoli fame.

Moreland Greens’ Councillors apparently see Rogers Memorial Reserve as terra nullius, yet they were told by an independent consultant, engaged by Council, that the Reserve was of local heritage value in its entirety. (There was a viable alternative building site nearby.)

It was just ten days ago on 1 May 2016 that the Mayor of Moreland laid a wreath on the War Memorial at the RSL Commemoration Service in remembrance of the ANZACS and the fallen in World War I. PPL VIC regards this as hypocrisy on her part and insulting to those who served Australia in world wars and overseas missions.

Julianne Bell Secretary of PPL VIC comments that:

“This rubs salt into our wounds and those of local residents who have long fought to preserve the Rogers Memorial Reserve parkland and the War Memorial; it is extraordinarily insensitive of the Mayor. We consider that it represents a conflict of interest for the Greens Mayor, who is now campaigning as the preselected Greens’ Party candidate for the seat of Wills. PPL VIC understands that there has been no tender yet accepted for the construction of this planned community/medical centre on the Rogers Memorial Reserve, so any “turning of the sod” is premature. Our organisation suggests that the Mayor resign immediately in view of the fact the PM has now declared an election will be held on 2 July 2016” Over the past 2 years PPL VIC has called on a succession of Ministers under the past Liberal/Coalition Government and now the State Labor Government plus RSL Headquarters and Heritage Victoria to review War Memorials and their Memorial Parks to guarantee future protection and proper maintenance.

A deafening silence has resulted. Lip service only appears to be given to the memories of ANZACS and so we cannot expect any real action from government.

Sod-Turning Ceremony for the Pascoe Vale Community Centre

WHEN Tuesday 10 May 2016

TIME 4.30 – 5.30 pm

WHERE Pascoe Vale Neighbourhood Facility

7 Prospect Street, Pascoe Vale"

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Whatever Happened to Moreland Mayor's "Sod Turning Ceremony" on Rogers Memorial Reserve on Tuesday 10 May?

Greens Mayor Samantha Ratnam and supporters, including two Councillors Oscar Yildiz and John Kavanagh, gathered at the small swimming pool building on the west side of Rogers Memorial Reserve in Pascoe Vale yesterday at 4:30 pm. (See our previous media release and notice of the event.) The intention was to hold a "sod turning ceremony" in the park to mark the commencement of construction of a mega community/medical centre development on what has been for the last 80 years a War Memorial Reserve.

Representatives of Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc and Friends of Rogers Memorial Reserve stood at the entrance to the pool building with our messages to the Mayor and Councillors on placards. See the photo.

Our protest group waited and waited and still no party emerged from the swim pool centre to embark on the promised "sod turning ceremony" in the park. They were entertained inside with afternoon tea and by an elderly choir who reportedly sang Abba's "Dancing Queen" and other uplifting songs.

Meantime darkness fell and it appeared that the ceremony in the park had been abandoned. Could it be that the Mayor did not want to face us? It was reported - as unlikely as it seems - that the sod turning was performed in a bucket of sand in the safety of the swim centre The departing Mayor and company finally left around 5:45 pm in the dark and were farewelled with chants of Shame Greens Shame.

This is not the only fiasco the Greens Mayor of Moreland - the Greens candidate in the Federal seat of Wills - has presided over. See the article in the Herald Sun today on Page 7 re cheap grog sales.

News items coming up in next bulletin: Boroondara proposed land deal with Camberwell High School over a Riversdale Park land grab for a cycle path and our meeting last Monday with an Education Department bureaucrat questioning the deal; report on "community consultations" held by Yarra Council on Rushall Reserve over proposed cycle path; population overload in Melbourne and failure of Government to reduce net overseas migration; and threat of new children's playground to Darling Gardens Clifton Hill.


Julianne Bell
Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.