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Strained kick-off

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By Evelyn Leckie

THE new $9.6 million soccer centre at Painted Hills Reserve in Doreen officially opened last week, but it was the troubling events at the City of Whittlesea that overshadowed the event.

Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green took the public announcement opportunity to criticise councillors who voted to sack its chief executive Simon Overland the night before.

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“I think this council is doing the community an enormous disservice by having such a revolving door of leadership,” she said.

Ms Green added she was disappointed new Mayor Emilia Sterjova cancelled her attendance the day of the event, amid the announcement of Mr Overland’s sacking.

“Am I surprised she’s not here today? Am I surprised she’s ducking for cover? No I’m not,” Ms Green said.

“She better start smartening up her footwork – she should back in her staff and be available to the public.”

Previous mayor Lawrie Cox attended the event also saying he was disappointed with the mayor’s no-show.

“I only found out this morning that the mayor cancelled,” he said.

“Leadership is about leading, and if you’re not interested in leading – don’t come.

“The state department told me they’re still going ahead with the announcement – so I came in fairness to council as we funded some of the project.”

City of Whittlesea contributed $5.4 million to the soccer centre, State Government granted $3.275 million, Sport and Recreation Victoria put in $650,000 and a private developer contributed $281,000.

The soccer centre will be home to the newly-formed Doreen United Soccer Club but can also be used for community events.  It includes two new floodlit soccer pitches, a community pavilion with change rooms, kitchen and a meeting space.

Mayor Sterjova was contacted for comment.

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