Shoring up our footy defences

By Shepparton News

Where’s Donald Trump when you need him?

The illegals are running amok at Deakin Reserve.

Now I can’t tell you for how long access to the footy, and the odd entrance-payment events, has been ‘free’ through the padlocked, chain-meshed park gate on the Nixon-Harold south-west corner of our prime sports oval, but it’s been longer than two-and-a-half years at least.

Whose responsibility is it to plug it up?

Council or the beneficiary clubs?

As an advocate for free public access to our expensively-manicured open spaces, except when money-raising events are held, my vote goes to the revenue recipient — the tenant organisation.

Surely there’s a willing club-supporter/tradie with an hour to spare.

There’s also the aesthetics to consider. Come to think of it, though, the ugly breached gate kind of look complements the reserve fencing barbed wire toppings along Harold and Nixon Sts frontage.

Then take a good look at the Princess Park western fence ‘entrance-holes’.

Not so strategic but those secret accesses could do with a wire-weave as well.

●‘‘No-one is going to dispute the election of an independent has shaken things up. I know the Liberal Party is blamed for not doing anything in the seat of Shepparton but the Libs have never held the seat.

‘‘It has always been a Nationals Member for Shepparton.’’

Who said that, do you think? Who would be sinking the slipper into the bush socialists?

Would it be the pinko ALP — perhaps a pixie from the tree-hugging Greenies?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was a ‘‘we’’ will do this, ‘‘we’’ will do that self-appointed Liberal spokesman — a Coalition aficionado unwisely blaming his party’s rural rump partner, The Nationals, in a response on social media to a contributor suggesting that the Coalition ‘‘have a long history of doing nothing’’ in the Shepparton district seat.

A fortnight ago this column noted that the Coalition is realistically a marriage of convenience and that here in the Shepparton district where, this time, the Libs are facing off against their partners, the Nats, and vice-versa, there’ll be little cohesion, so ‘‘that little side-show will be worth in itself’’.

Didn’t take long, did it?

So far no response from the very-much junior party.

The poster concerned is reported to be employed by the Parliament of Victoria in a Liberal MP’s electoral office — his comments clearly being a personal view.

●Looks like we were out of luck yet again on the ongoing north-south national highway Shepparton Bypass funding — even for the watered-down fraction of the current municipal ask of a single lane each-way northern Goulburn River crossing.

That highly-conceded stop-gap measure, when funded, will be short-term handy but contributes virtually nought to north-south bypassing of Shepparton.

We never should have been pre-2014 election politically duped into settling for a compromised claim.

We should still be pressing for the full Arcadia-to-Wanganui Rd dual-lane each-way product.

As it stands, to my mind, today’s newborns will now be lucky to see that, and my demographic will be battling to see even the watered-down single second crossing.

Moral of the story? Never give politicians an even break.

●Greater Shepparton is generally looking good, isn’t it, as we leave our otherwise depressingly dry autumn.

Our parks look magnificent, our newly completed roadworks are commodious and functional including new streetscapes. High-rise new buildings gracing the skyline are enhanced by the prolific expansion of residential building, including infill renovation together with subdivisional development.

Sure, there are downers, like worldwide retail difficulties while the scourge of illicit drugs presents ongoing problems.

But Greater Shepparton continues to be a great place to live and bring up families. Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are.

Shepparton’s John Gray has vast experience in local government, urban water reform and natural resource management.