Bassendean’s Sandy Beach Regional Playground saga drags on

Bassendean’s Sandy Beach Regional Playground saga drags on

IT’S a Swan River adventure playground that’s been discussed for 10 years but is yet to become a reality in Bassendean.

And the decade-long conversation is far from over, with the latest talks indicating funds are not confirmed for the Sandy Beach Regional Playground and it could end up being a smaller park than originally planned.

The park was a topic of discussion at last month’s council meeting with Town officers recommending the project go straight to the detailed design stage.

But councillors baulked at the suggestion and instead supported an alternative motion from Mayor Renee McLennan that the project be put on hold until funding was confirmed.

Key funding is to come from a Lotterywest grant and the sale of two blocks of land.

Ms McLennan’s alternative motion also pushed for a re-design of the park if its budget was reduced.

The scaled-down version would remove a pedal go-kart track and have less carpark space.

It would cost $18,000 for designers to draw up new plans.

Crs John Gangell and Kathryn Hamilton were the only dissenters to the motion.

Ms McLennan said smaller backyards meant the Town needed to “engage play spaces in our community”.

She addressed concerns from residents who wanted to see the reserve remain untouched.

“I think we’ve seen there’s huge support from the community especially families with children,” she said.

“I understand people having concerns about things changing in that location.

“We have a design before us that isn’t perfect… but that does not mean… we can’t get to the point where it is going to be enjoyed by families and also not impact on people currently using that space.

“I still believe that people who go down there to enjoy the nature will continue to do so.”

Cr Gangell raised concerns about the ongoing costs of maintaining the playground.

“We can’t be kids in a candy shop with the rates,” he said.

“I personally think it would be a great asset to the Town, but you’ve got to weigh up the ongoing costs.

“Is this affordable in the long term? I don’t think so.

“It disheartens me to not support it.”

He did not think making a smaller playground at less cost was viable because the park was meant to be a major attraction.

Earlier in the meeting, Bassendean resident Bev Johnson expressed her dismay at how big the proposed playground was.

She described the area around Sandy Beach Reserve and Ashfield Flats as the “jewel in the crown of Bassendean” and did not want to see it tarnished.

“The decision to put any development on the Ashfield Flats side of Sandy Beach Reserve is based on 20th century thinking when people didn’t see open space and bush, they saw development opportunities,” she said.

“I would like council to address my concerns and those of the many people who thought we were voting for a small, nature playground.”

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