Highbury Common Project Update

I shared this story last Sunday morning about how we had unanimous agreement at our Leadership Team meeting to seize the opportunity of getting the larger playground. But after finding out that the Boroondara Council was requiring us to submit a planning permit application for the new playground, a Goliath of discouragement was upon me and I just could not see a way through. Given that it could take at least several weeks for a permit to be approved, if it was approved, the whole project looked in trouble as it must be completed by 31 Oct to receive the funding.

I wrote to the Council asking for special consideration given our circumstances. I outlined the history of the playground area and the wide community use it has had. I worked on the planning application and spent about 4hrs to complete it. I decided to go to the Council offices and talk directly to a town planner and did so last week. After explaining the situation to him, he went away for 5 minutes to talk to others. He came back and said “You don’t need the permit, go ahead with it.” I was thrilled and came away grateful that Goliath had been slayed.

Before I went to the Council I called the person who has the playground and after going through a few things with him, he was happy to accept an offer of $4,500 including delivery, which was a discount of $500.

When I got back to my office there was a letter from the Council on my desk. In it was a letter of approval for our second grant we applied for of $9,000 to extend the veggie gardens, buy tools, a small shed, and put in a compost system.

This Saturday we had planned to spend half the day pulling out the old Pirate Ship and taking it to the tip. It needs a lot of work and has served us for around 15 years. But a last minute idea saw it go up for sale on Gumtree, and a couple from Leongatha fell in love with it and purchased it for $300. They even came down, spent 7hrs dismantling it and took it all away for us!

We need the whole church to participate in Highbury Common, which will be:

  •  an area on our property that is not for exclusive use by Res or Church or community, but a space that can be used by all these groups to connect. In essence, a town square or village green.
  • fresh vegetables and herbs grown for the church community, Res and local community to enjoy.
  • a local composting hub that encourages sustainable ways for the immediate local community to reduce landfill and produce good organic compost.

God Bless,

Nicholas Tuohy

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