Letter from the Mayor in response to our meeting re Bob Pettit Reserve sale.

15 January 2014

Office of the Mayor

Sid Pope


3228 Residents Association

Sent via email


Dear Sid

Request for information regarding Bob Pettitt Reserve – State Government offer for

Council to purchase land owned by the Department of Education and Early Child

Development (DEECD)

In response to your request, on behalf of the 3228 residents group, for information on this topic I can confirm the following:

• Council is fully aware of the importance of Bob Pettitt Reserve as public open space to the community and to the groups that use the reserve.

• Council’s objective is to retain the current use of the reserve as public open space at the lowest possible cost to rate payers.

• Council, along with the State Government, has invested significantly in community facilities at the reserve in recent years.

• The reserve is Jan Juc’s only large public open space. It includes facilities for community groups, clubs and families as well as Jan Juc’s only Neighbourhood Safer


• The reserve has been used as public open space since it was purchased by the State

Government (Ministry of Education) in 1977. It was held as a potential school site. This school was never built.

• Some of the original facilities, notably the tennis courts and pavilion, were built around the time of the State Government’s purchase of the site and straddle the title boundary.

• Archives suggest that there have been sporadic discussions between the State Government and both Barabool and Surf Coast Shire Councils regarding the possible sale of the land. These date back to the 1980s.

• However, historical records also appear to indicate that for the vast majority of the past four decades the community has been free to access and enjoy the land without a formal use agreement or the resolution of ownership.

• Most recently a licence agreement was struck between Council and DEECD in 2005 to formalise community use of the land until 2010. DEECD was not prepared to extend this agreement and discussions on long-term ownership took place in 2011and 2012.

• The Department of Treasury (DTF) and Finance wrote to Council in late October 2013, acting on behalf of DEECD, formally offering to sell the land to the Shire at market value.

• The land has been valued by DTF as per its residential zoning. It has been zoned as residential land since the early 1980s although this does not reflect the Shire’s consistent view that it is valuable open space for use by the community.

• Council has initiated discussions with Andrew Katos, Member for South Barwon and

representatives of DTF and DEECD. Negotiations are at an early stage. It is important that Council is able to continue to represent the community as those negotiations continue in the coming weeks.

Council will consider its position on this matter at its first briefing for the year on 21 January

2014 and, pending the progression of negotiations, may resolve on the matter at its meeting

on 28 January 2014.

If you have any enquiries concerning this matter please contact Stephen Wall, CEO on 5261

0601 or myself on 5261 0517.

Yours faithfully

Cr Rose Hodge