Council and St Kilda Football Club are working in partnership to develop plans for a community sport, health and wellbeing hub in Seaford.
Following positive collaboration between the organisations, Council voted to give the club’s proposal for the Belvedere Precinct (formerly Linen House) its in principle support at the January 27 Ordinary Council Meeting.
Frankston City Mayor, Kris Bolam, said long-term discussions between Council and Club, about repurposing the precinct, had been productive.
“A design is due to come back to Council for final sign off in August and we expect to be in a position to formalise agreements with the Club and other parties, to support the activation, at that time,” the Mayor said.
“We will be including a broad canvas of community organisations such as Belvedere Community Centre in the strategic direction of the precinct.”
Cr Brad Hill said Council was looking forward to working with St Kilda Football Club to reactivate the precinct.
“This facility has so much potential but it has been underutilised for the last three years and this proposal can change all that. I’m looking forward to the next steps in this journey which will see the precinct transformed into an exciting community asset.”
Council CEO, Phil Cantillon, echoed the Councillors’ sentiments, saying once activated the Seaford precinct would be a valued and used by groups and residents across Frankston City.
“The wonderful thing about this decision is that it will see the important Belvedere Precinct returned to the community in a way that will improve health and wellbeing in our City,” Mr Cantillon said.
“Our hope is that as well as being used by community groups, Council and the Club, the precinct will also be occupied by a tertiary health education provider, as well as
health care, aged care and disability professionals and a social enterprise café. We will keep the community updated as sub-tenants are confirmed.”
Belvedere Community Centre Manager, Meredith MacKenzie, said the centre was celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, having been located on Belvedere Road, Seaford since 1991.
“Our Committee of Management is excited to be part of the Belvedere Precinct redevelopment and the opportunity to work in collaboration with St Kilda Football Club, Frankston City Council and other community organisations.
“As a small centre in a building no longer fit for purpose, this expanded opportunity will greatly enhance the work we currently do, enabling us to provide essential support services to the local community and will create partnership opportunities that benefit the wider community.”
Council will invest a total of $2.6 million from the 2021-22 and 2022-23 budgets (as well as $218,000 remaining in this financial year’s budget) to breathe life into the Belvedere Precinct.
Works to be completed with Council’s contribution include female-friendly change rooms and amenities and an overflow carpark.
“To protect the interests of residents and Council, the next step in the process will also include the development of a number of project KPIs and safeguards,” the Mayor said.
Project conditions will include the site being used for sport, health and wellbeing, with specific benefits for vulnerable groups in Frankston City and Council having a significant say on sub-tenanting and hiring arrangements, as well as the provision that the facility must be affordable and accessible for local community and sporting organisations.
“Our vision for the site is to best serve the future needs of our community and I’m confident St Kilda Football Club shares this commitment,” the Mayor added.
St Kilda Football Club CEO, Matt Finnis, said he was looking forward to the project progressing.
“We’ve been working closely with Frankston City Council for a long time now to reimagine how this unique facility can be refocused to deliver the greatest benefit to the community,” Finnis said.
“We’re thrilled that our shared vision to create a health and wellbeing hub which delivers services, training and facilities for the Frankston community has been supported by Council.
“Not only will the facility be of benefit to those already taking part in sport and exercise programs, but it will open the door to many who have not previously had access to a centre like this.
“Our club continues to have a deep affinity with the area and we’re excited to be playing a leadership role in bring together a host of like-minded organisations to create a new community asset at a time when it’s never been needed more.”