City of Melville pushing ahead with plans for Bert Jeffrey Park, despite community resistance

Bert Jeffrey Park.
Bert Jeffrey Park.

CITY of Melville is pushing ahead with plans for change rooms at Bert Jeffrey Park, despite community resistance.

But chief executive Shayne Silcox has promised a report being prepared on the proposed asset will address many of the unanswered questions that have bugged nearby residents over the last year.

The Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association (MRRA) prompted a special electors meeting earlier this month where they called on the City to halt planning on the new facility at the Murdoch park.

The Association wanted the City to wait until an inquiry into the council has finished, the community had been consulted about plans for the venue and Melville officers had produced a report looking at alternative venues for the Applecross Cricket Club.

But on Tuesday night councillors instead voted 11-2 in favour of a motion from City governance and compliance advisor Jeff Clark.

Mr Clark’s recommendation asked councillors to note the intent of the electors’ motion and ask that a report on the development of changing rooms be put before elected member by May at the latest.

Concerns were initially raised about Bert Jeffrey after a turf wicket was installed in early 2017 to allow the Applecross Cricket Club to host Saturday games there.

The MRRA argued, as did residents, there was no consultation and a petition signed by hundreds had been dismissed.

Dr Silcox said an urgent need to prepare the wicket meant the council had to move quickly, “so we weren’t consulting, we were informing the community of the pitch being put in”.

“I would have loved to have had a 12-month period to have made that decision,” he said.

“We didn’t have that. We made a call.”

Dr Silcox said plans for the change rooms, currently out for public consultation, would involve wider input than the pitch.

“We would need to consult on an asset, it’s location, size (and) things like that if we were to proceed,” he said.

“So this report will talk through what actually happened, to put it on record, but also seek council’s endorsement either to put it in future budgets, the next budget or maybe the budget in 2019-20, 20-21, or 21-22 or never.

“That’s a decision of council.”

Councillor Nicole Robins also revealed she had gone against plans to investigate locations for turf wickets, but said it was for good reason.

“First of all I’m not going to deny the fact that I told residents I would move a motion requesting all venues for the installation of a turf wicket be considered,” she said.

“When I first started putting that motion together, further investigation revealed that work had already been done by our officers.

“I’d like to make the point the outcome would have been the same if I’d moved that motion as the outcome we’re looking at today.

“I encourage residents to take that into account.

“The bottom line is that one of our local sporting clubs needs somewhere to play and we’ve space to accommodate them.”

The MRRA was sought for comment.

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