Residents to rally to save Caulfield Park conservatory

A PROTEST is planned at Glen Eira Council tonight by people angry about the council’s decision to demolish the Caulfield Park conservatory.

The Friends of Caulfield Park say the council have thumbed their collective noses at the community by dumping plans last month to restore and repair the ageing glasshouse because it would cost too much.

Protesters are being urged to gather 15 minutes before tonight’s meeting at the town hall.

Organisers say they want the community to “demonstrate through your presence your disgust at the hypocrisy of a council who pretend to consult us, the community, and then decide it is a bit expensive, even though they are willing to pay hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars on open space elsewhere’’.

Last month’s council backflip came seven months after councillors voted unanimously to restore and repair the ageing public building and replant its gardens after a survey found that was what the community preferred.

Friends president David Wilde said councillors had let the community down and labelled the decision an “act of destruction’’.

“The community’s least preferred option was demolition but, for comparatively modest cost reasons, this is what the council has opted to do,’’ Mr Wilde said.

“The conservatory is an historic artefact, purchased from Rippon Lea in 1949, but allowed to fall into disrepair over many years.’’

The council received eight tenders to restore the conservatory; their average was almost double the budget to do the work; and Mayor Neil Pilling said those costs had to be weighed up.

The nearby amphitheatre will also be demolished.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 7.30pm, at the town hall on Hawthorn Rd