The potential sale of Cobram Caravan Park has become a war between Moira Shire Council and just about everyone else in town.
Last Wednesday, several speakers took to the stand to vehemently oppose council’s intention to sell the land at a meeting at Cobram Civic Centre.
Leon West was the first to voice concerns when he spoke on behalf of a group of prominent local businessmen and influential members of the community opposed to the sale.
Mr West said if council was to sell the land, it would fail to recognise the contribution made by Apex members who constructed the site for the equivalent of $316,000 in today’s currency.
Mr West also argued selling went against the agreement made between the former Cobram Shire and Victorian Railways when the land was originally acquired in 1963 which stated the land would be used for community purposes.
‘‘It ignores the rare opportunity to retain and redevelop a community asset strategically located in the centre of town.
Once sold, it will never be reacquired,’’ Mr West said.
‘‘We suggest it is far better to have a long-term strategy about the value of community assets, developed in consultation with the community.
‘‘Cobram has a large bank of residential zoned land, so the land in question is not needed to address any residential land shortages into the foreseeable future. Indeed, we should be retaining and increasing the proportion of green space as the development of residential land increases.’’
Former Cobram Shire president Kevin Bourke spoke on behalf of Rotary and suggested more time was needed before any major decisions were made.
‘‘By granting the Cobram community a period of time, perhaps two or three years, we can come up with a better idea of how to best develop this land to ensure the best possible usage and ensure the best possible outcome for both the community and Moira Shire,’’ Mr Bourke said.
Apex spokesman Adrian Salter touched on how keeping the land would help solidify and enhance Cobram’s future prosperity.
‘‘We look to the future of what projects can happen in this area,’’ Mr Salter said.
‘‘The reality is, for future generations this piece of land is a prime location for an amazing facility in Cobram.
‘‘This block of land probably won’t be available again and it is probably a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face for the sake off a short-term financial gain.’’
Kevin Crow, who was representing seven former Cobram Shire presidents, was adamant the land should be retained for the best interests of the community, as it was originally intended.
‘‘We believe Moira Shire should keep faith with community ownership and use of the land in keeping with the spirit of negotiations leading to the transfer of the land between Victoria Railways and Cobram Shire,’’ Mr Crow said.
‘‘We collectively strongly oppose the sale of the land.’’
Council will reconvene on July 27 to further discuss the matter.