THE heritage-listed Winifred Jones Centre is set to be demolished as Amaroo Village proceeds with plans for a new clubhouse and administration centre.
The $8 million project will feature a communal cafe, events centre, arts and crafts room, counselling area, gym and more on the bottom floor and a new administration office on the top floor.
To make way for the new building, the centre will be demolished, along with the nearby Dot’s Cafe, while some surrounding trees will also be cut down.
The Winifred Jones Centre, also known as Jones House, was listed in the City of Gosnells’ Heritage Inventory 2016 as a category 3 item, meaning preservation of the centre was desired, but not a high priority.
Items on the inventory had a rating from one to four, with one being the highest significance and four the lowest.
Amaroo Village chief executive David Fenwick said the new clubhouse would better cater for their residents.
“It’s long overdue and gives them a number of different recreational amenities they haven’t had before,” he said.
Amaroo Village property and assets manager Robert Spencer said they had consulted with the City of Gosnells over the project and wanted to retain some of the building’s most special features.
“We’ve prepared an archival report to the office’s satisfaction and submitted that in January this year, which identifies key elements of the building,” he said.
“We’ve advised of some of the elements we want to keep, like the stained glass windows and some original jarrah timber finishes.”
However, some residents said they were devastated to hear about the fate of the building and the trees.
One resident, who wished not to be named, said they felt intimidated after they were told they were welcome to move to another villa if they opposed the centre.
“They managed to convince a lot of people after a while it was really necessary and for their benefit,” they said.
“You’ve got some staff who are saying ‘we can move you to another village, if you don’t like the trees being cut down you can move if you like.’”
Another resident said they believed the area’s amenity would be ruined by the new development.
“This area is the only open area where you can get a bit of fresh air,” they said.
“They’re knocking down all of the trees, but this area here is beautiful.”
Mr Spencer said the majority of residents were enthusiastic about the project and for every tree they were planning to chop down, they would plant two more.
“We’ve probably got 450 residents, and we’re talking two, three people against it,” he said.
“We’ve had the arboriculturist out to look at all the trees on site and provide us with a health report, we’re trying to protect the ones we can and looking after the ones that are good.”