DUBBED the Jacob’s Ladder of the North, a fitness staircase in Hillarys has been given the green light.
Joondalup councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting supported a proposal to develop Whitfords Nodes Park as a health and wellbeing hub at an estimated cost of $1.62 million after public consultation results showed strong community support for the project.
As well as the staircase, which is to be constructed on the northern dune, the hub could also include upgrades to the existing lookout and pathways, and new drinking fountains, bottle refill stations, picnic shelters and barbecues. However, these items are subject to grant funding.
The project will also consolidate the current play equipment into a new regional play space.
Feedback from the community consultation shows more than 70 per cent of the 458 respondents either strongly supported or supported each element of the concept plan, while 87 per cent indicated they strongly supported or supported the overall proposal.
Cr Mike Norman said while the project would create an “excellent passive recreation facility focused on health and fitness”, there were some community concerns about disturbing the dune system and the “special natural attributes of this area”.
“The choice of materials and construction methods will need to be considered very carefully in order to create as little disturbance as possible,” he said.
“My estimate of the footprint of disturbance should be less than 200sq m, which is a tiny fraction of the section of Bush Forever 325 at Whitfords Nodes.
“It is planned that erosion control and revegetation will occur as soon as the stairway is installed… this area of vegetation will actually be improved when the post construction rehabilitation work commences.”
Mayor Albert Jacob said formalising the recreational areas at the park would also help to protect the dunes and its vegetation from disturbance from park users.
He said at 21m in height – equivalent to seven storeys – the stairway had the potential to become a popular tourist attraction.
“Attracting tourists to our City is a priority for Joondalup and is a very important contributor to our local economy,” he said.
Cr Christine Hamilton-Prime thanked the Harbour Rise Residents Association for “all their hard work with their vision” for the fitness staircase, which was first proposed nearly six years ago.
The City has $810,000 listed in its five-year capital works program and will now apply for grants of another $810,000 to go towards the elements subject to external funding.
Work could start in 2018-19 with an expected completion date in the 2019-20 financial year.