Bert Jeffrey Park: residents to get wish with Melville council backing further consultation into proposed building of amenities

The Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association have triggered a special electors meeting aiming to stall development of facilities at Bert Jeffery Park until a number of boxes are ticked.
The Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association have triggered a special electors meeting aiming to stall development of facilities at Bert Jeffery Park until a number of boxes are ticked.

RESIDENTS screaming to have their say on plans for Bert Jeffrey Park will get their wish after Melville council backed further consultation into a proposed amenities building at the Murdoch site.

The City of Melville got locals offside last year after installing turf cricket wickets at the park without first informing residents of its intentions.

With the City now planning to build a kitchenette, change rooms and toilets to accommodate cricket in the summer and soccer training in the winter, residents have remained vocal.

In April ratepayers used a special electors meeting to call on the City to halt planning for the building.

While the City will not cease work, it will go out to residents for their thoughts on the build after councillors voted 8-4 Tuesday night to delay preparations until further community consultation had taken place.

“This motion will help facilitate consultation with local residents… so all concerned parties may consider alternatives more suitable to everyone,” councillor Katy Mair said.

When completed, the extra consultation will be considered alongside a recommendation from Healthy Melville manager Todd Cahoon that the building be situated on the north-west corner of Bert Jeffrey Park.The location was to be voted on Tuesday night but councillor Nicole Robins pushed for a deferral so she could process new information.

With Mr Cahoon’s recommendation including consideration of a business case in Melville’s 2019-20 budget, Cr Robins said there was no issue in holding off.

“I’m not necessarily unhappy with the officer’s recommendations but I’d just like some more time to process that,” she said.

“I know there is no urgency; we’re not looking at including this in the budget until next year so I’d just like to leave it on the table until this time next month.”There was unanimous support for the deferral.

The fresh round of consultation is in addition to that being gathered from locals about the impact of cricket on amenity.

Earlier in the night, residents Vicki and Peter Oldham used a deputation to speak against the pitches installed at the venue last year to support summer cricket.

Mrs Oldham, who helped gather more than 300 signatures early last year for a petition protesting the wickets, argued the City had not followed Cricket Australia guidelines for pitches and playing fields correctly.

With five pitches at Bert Jeffrey, she said the City had had marked the boundary from the middle of the wicket square, rather than both the east and west pitches of the park’s turf table as recommended.

She also argued a suggested buffer distances of at least 20m between the playing surface and neighbouring infrastructure including homes and roads were not being met, which posed a potential danger with a playground just metres from the boundary rope.

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