State Govt to revitalise Bicton Baths with $1m if re-elected, on condition City of Melville matches amount

Premier Colin Barnett, Liberal candidate for Bicton Matt Taylor and Melville Water Polo Club member Harry Neesham.
Premier Colin Barnett, Liberal candidate for Bicton Matt Taylor and Melville Water Polo Club member Harry Neesham.

IF re-elected, the State Government will revitalise Bicton Baths with $1 million from its Riverbank Restoration Program but the money would have to be matched or exceeded by the City of Melville.

Bateman MLA and Liberal candidate for Bicton Matt Taylor said he had put forward a revitalisation proposal to the party after talking with community groups including the Bicton Environmental Action Group.

“There is a clear view of what should be happening here,” Mr Taylor said.

Inadequate parking led to people parking on the grass foreshore over the years, wearing it away; the revitalisation would see the carpark moved further away from the waterfront to the slope.

This would allow public open space to be tripled and could include barbecues, tables and shade huts plus a new toilet block and the kiosk at the water polo club could be enhanced.

One option being considered is removing the tonnes of oyster shell historically dumped in the area, which the local environment group has attempted to clear annually by hand.

“It would be much more useful, particularly for kids if it was cleaned out,” Bicton Environmental Action Group Peter Neesham said.

The site is an A-Class Reserve vested into the City of Melville for passive recreation.

Mayor Russell Aubrey said for the past eight years the local government had in mind a revitalisation of several hundred thousand dollars but it was not taken to council, considered cost-prohibitive.

He felt $1 million could cover the project and gave no indication on how much council might contribute.

Harry Neesham, a life member of the adjacent Melville Water Polo Club, said from 1920 to the end of the ‘50s, Bicton Baths was the second-most popular waterfront to Point Walter, but became over-run with antisocial behaviour from the ‘60s to the ‘80s.

He said its popularity has grown again since, with local residents and families of water polo players able to picnic for free.

Mr Barnett said the money was part of an extra $4 million over four years recently committed to the Riverbank Restoration Program.