Vacancy rates soar in CBD
One fifth of commercial properties empty, latest data reveals
Christian Tatman, Frankston Standard, 29 April 2019
ONE in five properties in the Frankston CBD is vacant, latest Frankston Council data reveals.
The 2019 Frankston City Centre Occupancy Report shows the overall vacancy rate has jumped by 3.08 per cent to 20.94 per cent. Mayor Michael O’Reilly said it was the ninth consecutive year the rate had increased.
Ginevra Hosking, chief executive of advocacy group the Committee for Greater Frankston, said decades of empty offices and retail stores “had been a drag on the image of Frankston for too long”. “We need to listen to what traders are telling us — we need affordable carparking, diversity of experiences, public spaces and reasons to visit the city 24/7,” Ms Hosking said.
Trader Natalie Waterworth said a lack of free parking was turning shoppers away from Frankston to other centres such as nearby Karingal Hub where there was no fee. “I’m not surprised by the vacancy rate,” Ms Waterworth said. “It’s been an ongoing battle and something needs to be done, but the authorities ignore us.” Bayside Shopping Centre has refused to institute a ‘first three hours’ free parking deal despite repeated calls to do so from traders.
Cr O’Reilly said a newly appointed city centre place manager, along with a campaign to entice new businesses to the CBD and grants to encourage kerbside dining and facade improvements would help to revitalise the town centre. “The decrease in vacancies in Wells St confirms that money invested in streetscape and visual improvements has a positive impact on the retail environment,” Cr O’Reilly said.
“Further activations and the beautification of building facades and streetscapes could further decrease vacancies on other streets.”
The council has started charging developers a contribution fee to build future car parks.
Rail fail fears rise
Rail fail fears rise
Advocacy group fears for train project unless business case completed soon
Christian Tatman, Frankston Leader, 22 April 2019
THE Baxter rail project will go off the tracks unless the State Government completes a business case, according to a key advocacy group.
Committee for Greater Frankston chief executive Ginevra Hosking fears the Federal Government will withdraw its $225 million funding unless the study is wrapped up soon. “Without a cost-benefits study, no funding certainty can be obtained and any pre-election federal commitments — from either party — towards this vital infrastructure project are in jeopardy,” he said.
Ms Hosking said funding to start the project in 2019-20 had not been included in the recent Federal budget. The committee has long argued for the train line to be duplicated to Baxter.
Frankston state Labor MP Paul Edbrooke said the business case involved up to five level crossings, station redevelopments, carparking and train stabling. “Suggestions that a plan for a project costing up to $1 billion of taxpayers’ money should be rushed is foolish,” he said.
Dunkley federal Liberal MP Chris Crewther blamed the State Government delay for the project not starting.
Councils link up on transport
April 15, 2019 Keith Platt Latest News
Mornington Peninsula and Frankston councils want to meet with the Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan to discuss extending the electric train service to Hastings.
The two councils have written to the state government “clarifying their combined support for the electrification of the existing rail line from the Frankston city centre to Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula”, according to a news release from the municipalities.
Frankston mayor Cr Michael O’Reilly said the councils would support “Frankston-Langwarrin as stage one and Langwarrin-Hastings as stage two”. While acknowledging “the complex consideration for the future metropolitan train network”, both councils opposed locating any stabling or maintenance centres “in valuable green wedge land or altering the urban growth boundary”.
The councils say they are committed to working with Public Transport Victoria and bus companies to ensure that the electrification of rail includes improved bus services and connectivity to support the peninsula and Frankston.
Initial moves by Frankston Council were aimed at extending the electrified line south of Frankston to Baxter. This changed once the shire’s current mayor, Cr David Gill, pointed out that Baxter was within the shire and that extra parking and parking trains could only happen on land zoned green wedge.
“Stage one of this vital public transport project would ease car parking congestion at Frankston station and will directly benefit Frankston’s health and education precinct, which includes Frankston Hospital, Frankston Private Hospital and Monash University Peninsula Campus,” Cr O’Reilly said.
“Given recent major investments within the precinct, including the Victorian government’s $562 million upgrade to Frankston Hospital, it is important to provide the transport infrastructure needed to cater for the expected visitor growth.”
The two municipalities have a combined population of 305,000, with Frankston classed as a metropolitan activity centre and Hastings a major activity centre.
Cr Gill said that with an estimated 82 per cent of the peninsula having no access to bus services and limited access to such services as health and higher education “the region is in desperate need of greater investment into bus services”. “The shire has the second lowest provision of public transport out of the 31 councils in the Melbourne metro area,” he said. “The aged, youth and mobility affected deserve at least a basic level of service no matter where they live.
“The existing 788 bus service carries more than half a million passengers annually, with current frequencies from 45 to 100 minutes failing to meet growing demand.
“We need the Victorian and federal governments to get moving on these public transport projects that will deliver better outcomes for our joint communities.”
Frankston Tennis Club served a death sentence by lack of government funding
PETER ROLFE, sports affairs reporter, Herald Sun, April 18, 2019 6:00pm
A historic Melbourne tennis club that agreed to make way for a hospital expansion risks being left homeless after failing to win support from the Andrews Government.
Frankston Tennis Club gave up its site so much-needed beds could be added to Frankston Hospital next door, believing state and federal governments would help pay for its relocation.
The club, founded in 1851, even agreed to merge with neighbouring tennis and gymnastics clubs and set up a smaller headquarters with the support of its local council. But despite former sports minister John Eren last September telling the Herald Sun “we’ll help the club find a new local home”, its future is now in limbo and officials fear it will fold.
Club spokesman John McGillivray said it would stage protests and lobby the state and federal governments for support. But he added: “Unless funding is committed by the Victorian and federal governments, the closure of the Frankston Tennis Club is inevitable. “This is an absolute disgrace, given that they (members) have sacrificed their home for the benefit of the local community.’’
It is believed no money has been set aside in the forthcoming state Budget for the club’s move to Centenary Park in Frankston, which would attract an estimated 172,000 visits each year.
Sports Minister Martin Pakula declined to say if the government would pledge financial support to the club in the Budget or in future.
“We are focused on the job of delivering a world-class new Frankston Hospital that families in the southeast can count on when they need it most,” he said.
“The multimillion-dollar tennis club project was proposed by Frankston City Council without Andrews Labor Government involvement, and did not form part of our election commitments.” The club’s plight stems from a $562 million state government pledge to expand the hospital.
The club agreed to give up its 16 courts, clubhouse and carpark but expected its relocation would be funded. Frankston City Council pledged $11 million towards a move to Centenary Park but $8 million more is needed.