Locals fear park sell off

The Ardross public open space is earmarked for consideration in a proposed sell-off of City land that the council has said would generate income and reduce reliance on rates.

But neighbouring residents who got wind of the proposal said it would involve the council selling the reserve, said to be for $5 million, after moving the scouts and guides to new free premises ” possibly adjacent to Wireless Hill.

Melville chief executive Shane Silcox said the council had been working with the scouts and guides regarding the possibility of relocation to alternative facilities to better suit their growing needs and program demands.

Scouts WA chairman Peter Walton said there had been positive and productive discussions with the City and he understood detailed planning was underway.

‘Scouting is reviewing the location of its operations. Facilities at Wireless Hill are of interest because they would enable it to provide for the growing demand for scouting in the communities stretching from Applecross to Attadale,’ Mr Walton said.

At a meeting of about 40 residents at the Guide Hall early this month, Richard Gusterson said the council had been working quietly for years to move the Scouts and Guides without any discussion with adjacent residents.

‘The residents are mightily annoyed,’ he said.

‘The reserve is their local park and council is preparing to dispose of it.’

The residents will invite Dr Silcox to explain the council’s position and will submit a proposal to leave the scouts and guides at the reserve or, if they moved, to have the land retained as public open space.

‘The reserve has been identified as a site with a limited capacity to meet the needs of its users, and as part of a more strategic need for the City to plan for a growing population,’ Dr Silcox said.

‘In August 2013, an expression of interest process was adopted to enable exploration of potential and possible land uses for a range of identified sites within the City.

‘It is not a sale proposal, but a process to help us explore options.

‘Any proposed sale or development of a site would be a separate process involving further community consultation and endorsement by council at different stages.’