Bayswater council to consider micro sustainability centre in next budget

Friends of Lightning Swamp president John Williams at the fence around the swamp. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Friends of Lightning Swamp president John Williams at the fence around the swamp. Picture: Martin Kennealey

A MICRO sustainability centre, the first of its kind in Perth, is closer to becoming a reality after Bayswater council moved to consider allocating $300,000 in its next budget.

At a meeting held Tuesday, council endorsed in-principle the creation of a micro sustainability centre at Lightning Park in Noranda, a project that has been on the cards for 13 years.

The centre was originally identified in 2003 as part of a concept plan for Lightning Park and an initial research centre looked at costs of $2.5 million to $3 million.

A working group formed in 2015 identified a micro sustainability centre, costing $550,000 to $600,000, as a preferred option due to the lower cost.

Friends of Lightning Swamp president John Williams said the budget consideration was a “fantastic decision”.

“This initial funding is stage one to get the planning and the design and get collaborations in place with the private sector,” he said.

“We can start to show people the many forms of sustainability.

“The design of the building will be something that people can use parts of, take away if they were building a new place.”

Mr Williams has travelled to Canada and England to review environmental centres and said Noranda’s proposed centre would be unique for Perth.

At the meeting, Councillor Michelle Sutherland said the Banksia woodlands site had a rich indigenous history and could be an important educational tool for eastern suburbs students.

“This one has been on the backburner for years,” she said.

Cr Stephanie Coates said council should consider the budget line as the community had been waiting 13 years and “good will dries out sometimes in the community”.

However, Cr Brent Fleeton said he did not want to commit $300,000 without seeing a business case.

“I want this to succeed but I don’t think it will succeed if we go down this path,” he said.

“We can’t afford $300,000 right now.”

Cr Sally Palmer said the community did not necessarily need a building to learn about and enjoy the environment, and used the successful ‘night stalk’ series at Lightning Swamp as an example.

The motion was carried 5-5 after Mayor Barry McKenna gave a casting vote.