Alfred Cove: Tompkins Park redevelopment project put on hold by City of Melville

Tompkins Park.
Tompkins Park.

ANY redevelopment of Tompkins Park is now on hold after City of Melville councillors decided to review the entire project.

Tuesday’s council decision comes after the State Government’s decision to knock back the City’s request to buy a portion of crown land for the proposed wave park project in March and the Melville Bowling Club’s refusal to move into a proposed shared bowls facility with Mt Pleasant Bowling Club.

Growing concerns about the project led Melville Councillor Nick Pazolli, who moved the review motion at the May 21 meeting, to suggest the council take time to pause and reconsider the options.

Following nearly three hours of debate, the motion was passed narrowly 7-6.

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The City had ticked off on the concept plan for the Alfred Cove reserve in June 2017, which included a new shared bowling facility and reconfigured facilities for the Melville Cricket Club, Palmyra Rugby Union Club and Perth Saints Soccer Club.

It is expected it will take the City staff a number of months to put together a report about the project, which will then be looked at by the council.

City of Melville chief executive Marten Tieleman said $938,000 had been spent so far on the project.

“The majority of the $938,000 spent relates to payments for design and architectural works, and staffing costs associated with managing the project,” he said.

“A recent motion to council estimated a spend of $1.5 million, however this value included open purchase orders, which have not been invoiced, and estimations for future staffing costs.”

Mr Tieleman said the estimated cost of the project was commercial-in-confidence and not available.

“To ensure the City is in the best position to attract the best value for money when tenders are called, pre-tender estimates are not disclosed,” he said.

Mr Tieleman said it appeared the City would have to relinquish a $700,000 grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and reapply once a final project scope was approved by the council.

“We are cognisant of the fact that a reapplication offers no guarantee of success in securing future grant funding,” he said.

One of the concerns previously raised was the City’s intention to make the bowling clubs join the Tompkins Park Community Recreation Association, which shares its slim profits between the rugby and cricket clubs but would have to split the small amount three ways if bowls was also involved.

City of Melville administration building.

Ahead of the council decision on Tuesday Melville Bowling Club president Tim Smith, representative George Gear and Palmyra Rugby Union Club member Don Galbraith implored councillors to support Cr Pazolli’s motion.

The bowling club had been due to be demolished in favour of Urbnsurf’s wave park.

Mr Smith told the Melville Times said the decision was good for the club, the City and its residents.

“I’m very happy with the decision, I think we avoided a disaster,” he said.

“It’s time to revisit the needs of the Palmyra Rugby Union Club an the Melville Cricket Club.”

The Mt Pleasant Bowling Club had agreed to move into the news bowls facility but uncertainty over the project has caused them financial harm.

President Robert Cook said the club had asked the City for $60,000 for one year’s worth of greens keeping, which is expected to be considered by the council in June.

“We are at the mercy of the council, if we don’t get the money then we’ll have to close our doors because we will be trading insolvent,” he said.

“The club has been open to merging with the Melville Bowling Club but this is another delay, we will continue as long as the City can give us that money.”

Mr Smith said the Melville Bowling Club was open to the idea of housing Mt Pleasant Bowling Club members at its current site.

The Melville Bowling Club.

Alfred Cove Action Group spokesman Tom Lubin said his organisation hoped the voted indicated the beginning of a process in which the City genuinely consulted with the community on the future of Tompkins Park.

“More importantly that they will hear what the community is saying and will develop a proposal that reflects the community’s wishes,” he said.

“It is hoped that the City of Melville administration will turn over a new leaf and begin a new policy of openness in regard to information which the public and the council should be provided in a timely fashion in order to knowledgeably participate in debate and decision making.”