Basketball leader urges caution
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Owen Hughan has backed a retention of the status quo in Horsham’s river sporting precinct pending ‘profound and realistic’ investigation.
Mr Hughan said his experience between the association and Horsham Rural City Council suggested the community should be wary of providing support for what might ultimately be ‘costly and unreasonable’ concepts.
He said while it was acceptable to include ambit-style proposals in major development involving active and passive recreation, the danger was always that ‘the unrealistic’ could be considered the norm.
Mr Hughan made his comments in response to the Horsham council’s release of a City to River Draft Masterplan for public comment.
“There are a few issues here – is what is ultimately proposed affordable and realistic for a start, are we heading down the road of creating white elephants, and are we dismantling volunteer institutions or infrastructure that have historical significance and have high value,” he said.
Mr Hughan said there was an obvious need to plan for the future, but Horsham councillor John Robinson was right in taking a cautious and conservative approach when presenting concepts developed by consultants from outside the region to the public.
He said there seemed to be a propensity for the Horsham council to ‘put the cart before the horse’ in considering future development that involved volunteer organisations and clubs as well as the general public.
“There is a lot of assumption about what is good, affordable and the right thing to do, without
really understanding the circumstances at the coalface,” he said.
“Of course this is all about community engagement and consultation and critically council actually listening and taking heed of the information it gathers.
“And while there are arguments that councils do this, there is probably not really enough indepth investigation into the pros and cons and whether the pros heavily outweigh the cons.”
Mr Hughan said while the association was not immediately directly involved in the latest arguments, it remained part of the bigger precinct picture through shelved plans involving a new indoor stadium.
“The fear was that it would be vulnerable in the next decade based on plans getting laid down now,” he said.
The Horsham council is strongly urging municipal residents to provide feedback on the draft plan, which is designed to provide a longterm guide to revitalise central Horsham during the next 20 to 30 years.