11 April 2016


Cr Fraser – This officer report from Ms Woods seeks Council approval to enter into a 4 plus 4 year licence with Wittingslow Carnivals for that part of the Rye foreshore public open space to the west of the Rye Pier.

The terms are for 4 plus 4 years which will gross council approximately $1.5m over the terms of the licence. It has already grossed Council a similar sum since 2007.

Councillors will be familiar with the history of the Wittingslow Rye Carnival having been invited to the foreshore by the Rye Returned Service League perhaps as early as 1954 -although the Shire of Flinders was first appointed by the Minister as the Rye Foreshore Committee of Management in 1968.

This invitation by the Rye RSL together with the licence fees accruing to the benefit of the Rye RSL, Rye residents and community secured the future of the Rye RSL and enabled improvements to be made to Rye community facilities. However, since at least 2007, these licence fees have disappeared into Council consolidated revenue with insignificant capital improvements to the Rye foreshore.

This needs to be addressed. The quality of the Rye foreshore has deteoriated significantly to the extent that outdoor showers and drinking taps – when they work- are surrounded by a boggy quagmire – and the grassed area surrounding the community foreshore playground is reverting to sand. There is no reticulated watering system for the most intensively used public  park in Rye. Foreshore and beach access paths have been concealed and obstructed by shifting unstable sand dunes. There is no disabled access to the pier. The carnival site, when not used as a carnival site, is unusable for public recreation.

I have referred to the playground – its construction on the foreshore was, of course, a Rye community initiative of the Rye Beach Community Action Group with an enormous contribution by the community in time, materials and money to the creation of this wonderful Rye community asset. Indeed, next month the Community Action Group is installing shade sails to the playground – again a project financed by the Rye community. These are all community – not Council – initiatives.

However, over the last two years, Council has developed an award winning evidence based Rye Foreshore Landscape Plan which also provided for links to improved traffic management on Point Nepean Road through Rye and a greater connection between  town, foreshore and beach and access to Port Phillip Bay. This is an exciting progressive muti disciplinary and multi stakeholder community project.

Personally, I am particularly appreciative of the work of our coastal and strategic planners and external landscaper – respectively Virginia Brook, Allan Cowley and Mark Travers – in bringing this Draft Rye Foreshore Landscape plan through a detailed public and stakeholder consultation phase in recent months. It will soon come to Council.

The Rye community and its visitors also suffer a significant loss in the use of the public open space to the use of the Rye Carnival – effectively most of the public open space to the west of the pier during the busiest summer and Easter School holiday periods.

Accordingly, by earmarking the licence fees received by the Shire from the Carnival for better maintenance and capital improvements to the Rye foreshore, the Shire will be honouring its strong moral obligation arising from the substantial licence fees it has received for its benefit –  a moral obligation to the Rye community – to date – and will in the future – to ensure that these past and future fees are applied for the ongoing better maintenance and capital improvements to the Rye foreshore and Rye Community.

This new licence will provide much need future commercial stability for the Carnival, Council and the Rye community for the future benefit of the Rye foreshore which I commend to councillors.