Bas­ket­ball leader urges cau­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page -

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.

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