Murdoch: north-west corner of Bert Jeffrey Park the preferred spot for contentious new amenities building

Bert Jeffrey Park.
Bert Jeffrey Park.

THE north-west corner of Bert Jeffrey Park has been put forward as the preferred spot for a contentious new amenities building.

But a business case with facility options and a potential cost for the proposed Murdoch build is likely to be 12 months off.

At a Melville council briefing Tuesday night, a report put forward by Healthy Melville manager Todd Cahoon suggested a kitchenette, change rooms and toilets be built near the corner of Fennessy Green and Johanson Promenade in Murdoch.

The facility, which he described as “very small and very modest”, would support the Applecross Cricket Club during the summer and football training in winter.

Mr Cahoon said it was the most suitable location due to its access to utilities and parking, with established trees to offer shade and a 3m drop in land to hide the facility “somewhat” from view.

The build would also remove the need for temporary toilets, with $3950 spent on them for cricket matches between January and March.

But residents remain opposed.The City sent 208 letters to nearby residents seeking feedback about the proposed location, with just four of the 19 respondents in favour of the build.

Fifteen spoke against it with nine of those not wanting any sort of structure at all.

Their resistance is unsurprising given the to and fro between the City and residents since a cricket pitch was installed in early 2017, much to the surprise of locals.

In February this year, ratepayers used a special meeting of electors to call on the City to cease all work on an amenities building and for alternative venues for the cricket club to be considered.

It was argued the City had not been transparent with its plans for the venue, while residents had failed to receive answers to their questions.

Later that month, councillors instead voted 11-2 in favour of a recommendation to note the intent of the electors’ motion and for a report on the development of changing rooms to be put before elected members by May at the latest.

Chief executive Shayne Silcox said the report would “talk through what actually happened” with regard to the City’s decision to put the pitch in.

In the subsequent report offered Tuesday night, Mr Cahoon said reserves including Tompkins Park, Shirley Strickland Reserve and Winthrop Park had been considered for a turf wicket before Bert Jeffrey got the nod.

The council will consider Mr Cahoon’s recommendation for the north-west pocket of Bert Jeffrey to house the building and for it to be considered in the 2019-20 budget at a meeting on May 15.

A second call from electors for work on the build to stop will be considered on the same night.

– Consultation – 

Residents promised the chance to offer feedback on the impacts of cricket at Bert Jeffrey Park are yet to be sought out.

In November, councillors voted 10-3 in favour of councillor Nicole Robins’ recommendation residents be sought for feedback after the close of the 2017-18 cricket season about the sport’s impact.

Despite the season ending in March, Healthy Melville manager Todd Cahoon said the City was yet to follow through.

“We haven’t directly gone out to seek feedback on the use,” he said.

“I guess you gage that from … have we had many complaints throughout the season?

“We had initially a few but we haven’t had many.

“(We’ve) had rangers out to monitor the parking and we’ve done that work (monitoring) and viewing the usage of the reserve and monitoring the feedback from residents during that period.”

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