Go-ahead given for park project

The site as it looked when the school buildings were still on the site.
The site as it looked when the school buildings were still on the site.

Melville councillors last week voted to set aside more than $1.3 million over the next two years, with additional maintenance costs, to develop a third of the site into a community open space area with barbecues, a playground, toilets, paths and bushland.

At the meeting, councillors agreed that the Willagee site, which has been left vacant since it was bought off the Education Department in 2006, should be a priority for the City.

Councillor Bob Kinnell said the park development was what the people of Willagee wanted.

In February, a community meeting was held in Willagee as part of the City’s 10-year plan for the development of the suburb. A main item was what to do with the old site, located off North Lake Road.

While people said they wanted to see the area turned into a park for people to enjoy, they also called for the other two- thirds of the land to be developed into a medical hub.

When the City of Melville bought the land in 2006, it was with the purpose of converting one-third into open space and rezoning two-thirds for residential and commercial development.

The City said planning for the other two-thirds of the site was underway, but no decision has been made. However, Melville acting Mayor Duncan Macphail said works to improve the open space and bushland area are scheduled to commence in mid 2013, with parkland landscaping commencing early to mid 2014.

Councillors also voted to apply for possible funding through the State and Federal governments to reduce the costs on the ratepayers.

A name process will also be undertaken for the parkland, with residents and community groups urged to provide suggestions.