MUNDARING Shire councillors have knocked back a master plan to revitalise Lake Leschenaultia as a tourist and recreation destination.
Councillor John Daw spoke against a council proposal to progress and seek comment on a draft design plan for the 168ha reserve in Chidlow. Councillors voted with Cr Daw not to endorse the Shire of Mundaring staff recommendation.
Officers presented a detailed report on Tuesday, which favoured development of the Shire of Mundaring’s “jewel in the crown”, an area of historical significance and natural beauty.
Shire President David Lavell said councillors believed it was not the right time to proceed with a large-scale review of the area when the financial capacity to implement some of the objectives and infrastructure in the plan was lacking.
“We will maintain existing assets as they are but there won’t be an expansion of the facilities already there,” he said.
“Council may decide to pick it up again later down the track, but there are concerns around cost in the current economic climate.”
Landscape architect Blackwell and Associates began work on the master plan last November.
Costs incurred include consultancy fees of $45,580 for the draft plan and $14,805 for surveys presented at a council forum in September and finalised as a draft master plan in October.
The council resolved two years ago to reallocate $80,000 from $360,000 budgeted against the capital account for construction of a caretaker’s house to a new operating account for development of the master plan.
The master plan sought to address access and maintenance concerns, with the aim of enhancing the natural beauty of the destination for day visitors and short-term campers to attract more visitors across the seasons.
Officers said the master plan would act as a guide for all future development to “maximise the amenity and enrich the users’ experience while not overloading the site’s environmental capacity”.
Lake Leschenaultia reserve has provided freshwater swimming, canoeing and other recreational activities for many years.
The officer’s report said ad hoc development of the facility in the past had failed to tap into the potential to enhance experiences offered by the site.
Local groups consulted about the draft plan included the Chidlow Progress Association, Mundaring and Hills Historical Society, Mundaring Tourism Association and Eastern Hills Business Association.
Feedback from a small community survey suggested the natural attributes of the site “sell itself”, but the same people said while the facilities reflected community needs and expectations, they fell short of the quality expected.
The Shire report proposed a three-stage development at a total cost of $17,823,071, including a cafe/kiosk/function centre and grassed areas to attract visitors.