Bassendean council against elite soccer centre in Ashfield

Stock image.
Stock image.

BASSENDEAN council has shown the red card to the prospect of the State Government building WA’s premier soccer centre at Ashfield Reserve.

It was thought Labor had scrapped the former Government’s plan for a State Football Centre, but in December it announced it would revisit it.

The council’s opposition to the proposal is somewhat of a backflip.

The former council was in support of Ashfield being shortlisted as a potential site in 2016, but at Tuesday’s meeting, the newly elected council voted to revoke that decision.

Councillor Melissa Mykytiuk moved for the change of heart and was backed by Mayor Renee McClennan as well as councillors Jai Wilson, Sarah Quinton and Kathryn Hamilton.

Deputy Mayor Bob Brown and councillor John Gangell, who was Mayor at the time of the original proposal, supported the centre.

Mayor McClennan said they needed more information on the plan and the council’s past community survey on the proposal had been “very poor”.

Cr Mykytiuk said her time spent door knocking in the lead-up to the election gave her an idea of the community attitude toward the centre.

“Many residents in the vicinity of Ashfield raised it as an issue,” she said.

She outlined worries such as excess traffic and not enough parking.

Cr Wilson agreed : “If you’re going to have a state-level soccer centre it needs to be somewhere where there’s parking,” he said.

Cr Hamilton believed an elite sports centre would discourage families from using the public space.

“It’s not a charity, it’s an enterprise and if they take over and want to expand, I can’t see how that’s good for our community,” she said.

But Cr Gangell strongly supported the idea, accusing those opposed to it of being “against development in this town”.

He claimed it would not be about “locking people out” of Ashfield Reserve, but bringing visitors into the town and giving Ashfield Soccer Club, which would be a co-tenant, a “decent facility”.

“I struggle to see how this council is driving for investment,” he said.

Cr Brown said there could be “engineering solutions” for traffic problems.

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