CARPARKING upgrades at Sorrento Beach were a last minute inclusion in the City of Joondalup’s 2016-17 budget.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the council voted to bring forward the report on infrastructure options at the beach so it could be considered before the budget.
The report looked at opportunities for traffic, carparking and park facility upgrades around Sorrento Beach following the State Government’s $400,000 commitment to help the City establish a beach enclosure.
In May, the City accepted a tender from Eco Shark Barrier to install and maintain the beach enclosure for $910,000.
“Detailed design and approvals are currently being progressed with installation scheduled to be completed prior to December 2016,” a council document said.
It said the proposed beach enclosure would likely increase visitors to Sorrento Beach, therefore increasing demand for parking and park infrastructure and could “potentially worsen local traffic issues in the area”.
The report provided information on upgrades to car parking at a cost of $806,000 and park infrastructure at a cost of $890,000.
However, City officers recommended the council monitor and review the need for upgrades after the installation of the beach enclosure “to allow time to develop overall upgrade options and to determine actual increases in patronage and local trends”.
“It would further allow the City to apply funding in the most efficient manner,” the document said.
However, Mayor Troy Pickard moved an alternative motion to list $431,000 for consideration in the 2016-17 budget to construct 48 additional bays north of the Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club, 17 bays on the east side of West Coast Drive and 10 at the surf club, to be constructed at the same time as the beach enclosure.
This would mean the draft budget’s proposed surplus of more than $600,000 would be reduced.
Mr Pickard said there were already concerns about the lack of parking at Sorrento Beach let alone once the enclosure was built and attracting more visitors to the area.
“The funds are available and it’s an opportunity for us to respond to feedback of the community and to be proactive and get on the front foot to ensure our infrastructure is not under strain when we open the beach enclosure,” he said.
Councillor Christine Hamilton-Prime agreed, saying the parking upgrades would be “wise and sensible”.
“Parking at the best of times at Sorrento is chaotic to say the least,” she said.
However, Cr Tom McLean agreed the City should wait and see what effect the beach enclosure would have on the area.
He said the City was already contributing $510,000 to the beach enclosure and another $431,000 would take the spend to $941,000.
“We should hang on to our money; we don’t know what’s going to happen in the year to come,” he said.
“We should be more prudent and practice sound management of our funds.”
Cr Russell Poliwka agreed saying he was wary of councillors “going down the track of adhocracy”.
Mr Pickard noted that budget items were normally discussed months in advance.
“In the last 10 years since I’ve been mayor, we’ve always adopted the budget that has come out of our workshop deliberations,” he said.
“In this instance, we’ve had a late item… and it’s quite clear to me we don’t have to wait and see.
“Parking at Sorrento Beach is already a challenge and it’s our responsibility to manage our infrastructure appropriately.”
He reiterated the budget would remain in surplus.
“We’ve worked hard over the last decade to build reserves of $56 million… due to the sound financial and prudent management of this council,” he said,
“By having $56 million in the bank, it’s going to be irrelevant whether we put $600,000 in to reserves or we put $200,000 in reserves.
“If we can have a short-term win and be proactive to build important infrastructure for our community, it’s our prerogative and our duty to do so.”
The motion was passed 8-3, with Crs McLean, Poliwka and Kerry Hollywood voting against.