Mansfield Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By PAM ZIERKMAHON­EY

FED­ERAL Min­is­ter for Re­gional Devel­opent Se­na­tor Fiona Nash (left) and lo­cal fed­eral mem­ber Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) tried their hand at skate­board­ing in town on Monday, to mark the com­mence­ment of works on the new Mans­field Youth Hub. Se­na­tor Nash had the priv­iliege of turn­ing the first sod of dirt, and the fed­eral politi­cians drew an en­thu­si­as­tic crowd, which in­cluded Char­lotte and Kee­gan Car­man.

FED­ERAL Min­is­ter for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment, Se­na­tor Fiona Nash, turned the first sod of ground on Monday to com­mence con­struc­tion on Mans­field’s Youth Hub, watched on by a large con­tin­gent of guests and reg­u­lar skatepark users.

Among the guests on site at the Mans­field Re­cre­ation Re­serve were Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of var­i­ous com­mu­nity groups as­so­ci­ated with the de­vel­op­ment of the hub.

Se­na­tor Nash said the govern­ment had pro­vided $200,000 from its Na­tional Stronger Re­gional Fund for the project.

“One of the won­der­ful things about be­ing in my role is see­ing things grow and see­ing things de­velop in re­gional towns, par­tic­u­larly small com­mu­ni­ties that have such in­cred­i­ble heart and have so much time and en­ergy which has gone into de­vleop­ing projects such as this,” she said.

“It should be very ex­cit­ing when this is fin­ished and I would love to come back.”

Ms McGowan con­grat­u­lated the Mans­field com­mu­nit in tak­ing the next step to­wards the de­vel­op­ment of its Youth Hub and Skate Park.

“Young peo­ple are a pri­or­ity in Indi and this project re­ally caters for the needs of these im­por­tant mem­bers of our com­mu­nity,” she said.

“I’m proud Mans­field is pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vices for its young peo­ple.

“A good skate park demon­strates that the com­mu­nity is in­vested in its youth and en­cour­ages an ac­tive life­style.”

The project has been led by the Skate Park Ac­tion Group and de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with Mans­field Shire Coun­cil and Sport and Re­cre­ation Vic­to­ria.

It will re­sult in the con­struc­tion of a Youth Hub and civil works in­clud­ing the re­lo­ca­tion of car park­ing and the en­trance to the re­cre­ation re­serve.

The im­print of the cur­rent skate park will be dou­bled and up­graded.

The to­tal project is val­ued at $490,000.

Its fund­ing in­cludes $100,000 from Mans­field Shire, $200,000 in Com­mon­wealth fund­ing, $100,000 from Sport and Re­cre­ation Vic­to­ria, $32,000 from the Depart­ment of Health (for a shade sail) and $60,000 to $70,000 for com­mu­nity do­na­tions.

“It’s im­por­tant for lo­cal govern­ment to sup­port its young peo­ple and it’s great to see so many stake­hold­ers in­vest­ing as well,” Ms McGowan said.

“De­liv­er­ing for Indi means ev­ery­one work­ing to­gether – lo­cal, state and fed­eral govern­ments work­ing with the com­mu­nity.

“When ev­ery­one works to­gether in Indi we get these sig­nif­i­cant projects that other­wise wouldn’t be pos­si­ble.”

Mans­field Shire Mayor, Cr Paul Sladdin, said the project has been some four years in pro­gress­ing through Mans­field Shire Coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tive pe­riod and de­sign re­quire­ments.

It started when a young skate­boarder, Harry Green, ap- proached coun­cil say­ing the park, in what was then its for­mat, was no longer suit­able.

“Since then early im­prove­ments have been made with rails and flow changes up­grad­ing the fa­cil­ity but not to com­pe­ti­tion stan­dards,” Cr Sladdin said.

“These im­prove­ments have been to­tally funded through fundrais­ing ef­forts by the young peo­ple and the Skatepark Ac­tion Group.”

Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Alex Green said coun­cil and a num­ber of ded­i­cated com­mu­nity mem­bers have been plan­ning this project since 2012 and were ex­cited to see this project come to fruition.

“While there will be some short term in­con­ve­nience, this project will have many on­go­ing ben­e­fits for our com­mu­nity and we would like to thank all those af­fected for their pa­tience dur­ing the con­struc­tion,” he said.

To­day, ex­ist­ing el­e­ments within the skate park will be craned out and con­struc­tion of a tem­po­rary en­trance into the re­serve will com­mence.

Skate park con­struc­tion spe­cial­ists, Pre­ci­sion Skate Parks, who hae been awarded the con­tract for con­struc­tion, will then oc­cupy the site from Septem­ber 26.

Mr Green said the new en­trance to the Re­serve will be fully com­pleted at the con­clu­sion of the Youth Hub build to avoid any pos­si­ble dam­age by heavy ma­chin­ery.

Con­struc­tion is sched­uled to be com­pleted by mid to late De­cem­ber.

While un­der con­struc­tion the Youth Hub site will be closed to the pub­lic.

Pedes­trian ac­cess to all other fa­cil­i­ties within the Mans­field Re­cre­ation Re­serve will not be im­pacted by the con­struc­tion works.

Ve­hi­cle ac­cess into the eastern side of the re­serve will be re­stricted through­out the con­struc­tion pe­riod.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Mans­field Youth Hub con­struc­tion, please con­tact Sport and Re­cre­ation of­fi­cer Dan Pur­cell on 5775 8555.

PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Mahoney

PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Mahoney

THREE CHEERS: A large gath­er­ing of in­ter­ested lo­cals joined shire mayor Paul Sladdin (third from left), Se­na­tor Fiona Nash (with shovel), shire CEO Alex Green (at rear) and Indi fed­eral mem­ber Cathy McGowan (sec­ond from right) for the turn­ing of the...

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