Open space plan hits snag

Darling Range Sports College in Forrestfield.
Darling Range Sports College in Forrestfield.

Kalamunda Shire and the school’s principal were in discussions earlier this year over plans to allow local sporting clubs to utilise the 3.5ha of vacant land adjacent to the school, but could not get the Department of Education (DoE) on board.

The DoE, which owns the land, indicated to the Shire that it would not be in a position to contribute any funds towards the project, would only offer a 10-year lease to the Shire and was reluctant to cater to clubs if they sought liquor licences for their clubrooms.

DoE acting executive director of infrastructure Milan Trifunovic said the college had sufficient facilities, therefore the plan was not a department priority.

‘This money could be better spent to benefit students at this school or other schools,’ he said.

In regards to the liquor licence, he said that the supply or sale of alcohol for special functions or events was permitted within departmental policy guidelines.

‘The department has an ‘alcohol on school premises’ policy that specifies principals are responsible for granting permission for functions to be held on school premises at which alcohol is to be supplied or sold,’ he said.

‘At no point is alcohol to be served in the presence of students.’

The Shire’s $14.3 million Darling Range Master Plan revealed that the base of the foothills is about 25.65ha short on public open-space provision, warranting four full-sized playing fields at 6.5ha per field.

The plan is also a breakdown of existing and new projects the shire aimed to complete throughout the next 17 years such as remediation of Pioneer Park, develop hockey fields at the equestrian site and playing fields at Morrison Oval and a synthetic hockey field at Hartfield Park.

Shire chief executive Rhonda Hardy said there were still plenty of other large areas that could be potential sites, but a lot of work had to be done as part of the long-term plan.

‘Pioneer Park is a viable site but we need to do some work there such as compressing the land to make sure it is solid and flat,’ she said.

‘We have put money aside in the new budget to get that done but the lighting also needs to be restored and some other things over the next couple of years.’

Pioneer Park was transformed from a waste disposal site to playing fields in 1998 but the softball club was forced to relocate due to subsidence.

It was announced in the July 16 edition of the Reporter that the Shire had secured State government funding to commence its Ray Owen Reserve master plan, which would investigate future development of the site.