City of Joondalup to turn Kingsley bushland into peace precinct

Brian Cooper’s proposed plinth locations presented to the council in April 2017.
Brian Cooper’s proposed plinth locations presented to the council in April 2017.

BUSHLAND in Kingsley will soon become a place for quiet reflection.

Planning is underway to install five plinths to form a peace and reflection precinct at Kingsley Park and bushland at Lot 971 (52) Creaney Drive.

In 2016, the City of Joondalup received a proposal from Kingsley resident Brian Cooper requesting part of the City-owned land be used as a commemorative peace precinct.

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The council considered Mr Cooper’s original plan in April 2017, with councillors voting to negotiate with the returned serviceman on the City’s two design options.

An alternative proposal was submitted to the council in December but City officers did not support the location of two of the plinths because they “could impact on the future development of an important community purpose asset”.

Councillors referred the matter back to the chief executive for further discussions with Mr Cooper.

A site meeting was held a week later near Rev John Smithies Park on Lakeway Drive in Kingsley, south of the heritage property Luisini Winery, with Mr Cooper, Mayor Albert Jacob and Crs John Logan and John Chester.

A council document said after the meeting, Mr Cooper “concluded it was a more suitable site for a commemorative peace precinct than Lot 971”.

Brian Cooper’s mock plinths “to show unobtrusive design” presented to the council in April 2017.

However, friend and Kingsley and Greenwood Residents Association president Sonia Makoare told a recent council meeting that was not the case.

Between the site and council meetings, Mr Cooper passed away. His widow Rita Cooper asked Ms Makoare to read a letter to the council.

“Brian was passionate about the project – to have an easily accessible place of reflection right here in our suburb to be enjoyed by all ages but in particular the ageing population,” she wrote.

She said Mr Cooper was “impressed at the last outing with the mayor and councillors” and “in true Brian form, he did not want to seem ungrateful”.

“But when he came home, we were talking and he was so frustrated that they all seemed to miss the point of his original plans,” she wrote.

“He didn’t see why the peace precinct at Lot 971 was being lumped in with a project at the lake.”

Because of this, Cr Logan moved an alternative motion to support five plinths “in suitable areas” at Lot 971, listing $15,000 in the draft 2018-19 capital works program for the design, construction and installation.

“Mr Cooper’s vision was for a low-scale peace precinct in a tranquil location consisting of five generic plinths, not just covering wars and conflicts but also looking at things like natural disasters,” Cr Logan said.

He said the City’s report in April 2017 was “shocking” .

“The findings came up with infrastructure to enable a war memorial for services such as Anzac and Remembrance Day services,” he said.

“Somehow that small project Mr Cooper had in mind had escalated to a size that Mr Cooper and so many other just simply hadn’t envisaged at all.”

Cr Logan said Mr Cooper did consider the site at Rev John Smithies Park but his “preference was always Lot 971”.

Councillors unanimously supported the peace and reflection precinct and voted 9-2 to investigate the potential for a war memorial near Rev John Smithies Park, with a report to be submitted to the council at a future meeting.

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