Whittlesea HEART break


by Joshua Wells

A COMMUNITY advocate has expressed her disappointment at the government’s Pick My Project campaign after the township of Whittlesea failed to attract funding.

Whittlesea Community House’s Mary-Lyn Griffith said some ‘who got up are urban-based hipster projects’ and called the process ‘problematic’ for the town.

More than $2.9 million will be awarded to fund the winning projects in the Northern Metro with the Hume City Council, City of Darebin and Moreland City Council the most successful with four projects each.

The most popular project, the Eltham North Adventure Playground Community Landscaping Project, received the most votes with 825, while the Bush Tucker Kitchen Garden at Lalor Secondary College received 130 votes and the Whittlesea HEART project picked up 66.

Ms Griffiths said the online voting process would benefit some regions more than others.
“We are still digesting the whole process and do think the online voting put us at a disadvantage,” she said.

“Many of our residents aren’t computer savvy… and you also need to be over 16 to vote, and some of our projects were for the kids.

“I think it is an urban process and you can see the ones who got up are urban-based hipster projects… I want to see projects funded based on merit, not public voting.”

The Whittlesea HEART project was aimed at reducing the alarming rates at which Whittlesea residents suffer from heart conditions by installing bike sheds to encourage a healthy living.

Project suggester Kerry Clarke said she would continue to work on the project.

“We tried really hard to motivate people to vote, but it seems they didn’t do it,” she said.
“We will keep on trying through other sources of funding… I think people still take heart health seriously.”

Labor’s Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green said the results will still benefit the City of Whittlesea.

“Congratulations to everyone who participated in the ground-breaking Pick My Project initiative either through voting or the submission of a project,” she said.

“Residents in Mernda, Doreen, South Morang and beyond will benefit from the regionally significant Plenty Gorge Park mountain bike trail program which will deliver more than 21km of trails.

“Those whose projects weren’t successful shouldn’t be disappointed as many of these can still be submitted for future funding.”

Liberal Candidate for Yan Yean Meralyn Klein said she wanted project funding to be based on merit and the needs of each community.