Here we go again, with the continuing saga of the Caulfield Park Conservatory. The Council agenda for Tuesday night contains this set of recommendations/’options’ authored by that ubiquitous entity – Mr Nobody!

Options include, but are not limited to:

a. select a tender for the restoration of the conservatory and accept the significantly increased cost;

b. remove the conservatory and return the area to open space including new plantings of exotic species – estimated cost $75k;

c. remove the conservatory and amphitheatre and return both areas to open space including new plantings of exotic species –estimated cost $140k;

d. undertake consultation on alternative proposals;

e. other action as directed.

7. Recommendation

That Council give direction.

Residents may well ask:

  • Didn’t Council really know that the cost of refurbishment would be more than the amount budgeted for less than a year ago? Or is this officer’s report just another example of fudging the truth? For example we urge readers to return to somee of our earlier posts (https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/council-meeting-caulfield-park-conservatory/ and https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/the-conservatory-debate/) where Lipshutz , arguing for the café option, states that ‘keeping the conservatory’ would be $300,000 to $400,000. That was October 2011!
  • Since when has the realisation of increased cost been a deterrent to find extra money by this council? We note the 2 GESAC car park extensions; the blow out from 6 million to ten million for the Duncan MacKinnon Pavilion and now the mooted 7 million to 9 million for the Booran Road Reservoir! Finding extra money for these mega palaces has never been a problem in the past.
  • Why has the conservatory been allowed to become so run down year after year? To the best of our knowledge the only funds allocated to any kind of work on the conservatory was $100k in 2007/8. Since then it’s basically been allowed to rot!
  • How many more goes should residents expect on the issue of the conservatory? How many more resolutions regarding ‘full restoration’ need to be carried before anything is done?
  • As the minutes of April 2013 tells us –

Council has considered the matter at its Ordinary Meetings of 13 December 2006, 14 December 2010 and 11 October 2011. On the last occasion Council resolved:

“(a) That Council recognises the heritage value of the Caulfield Park Conservatory

(b) That Council determine not to proceed with and Expression of Interest campaign for the Caulfield Park Conservatory

(c) That Council considers funding in the 2012/13 budget for the repairs and full restoration of the Caulfield Park Conservatory.

Carried”

That resolution of course went nowhere since the cafe option reared its ugly head once more only to be soundly trounced by community views in the ensuing ‘consultation’. It’s certainly time that councillors accept what the community wants and that they ensure that ‘full restoration’ and adequate maintenance is carried out immediately. Eight years of neglect and pussy footing around has to stop.

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