Oval extension plan on hold amid consultation review

Merriwa resident Ros Casey with Biggles and other park users who want grass trees and bush retained at Addison Park.
Merriwa resident Ros Casey with Biggles and other park users who want grass trees and bush retained at Addison Park.

A MERRIWA resident has called for the City of Wanneroo to make public a review into why plans to extend a football oval missed public consultation.

Ros Casey asked questions about the City’s plans to extend the Addison Park oval and upgrade floodlights and a review of why it did not go out for public consultation at a July council meeting.

The City put the project on hold after Mrs Casey raised concerns in March that public consultation had not taken place before construction was to start.

The extension to turn the junior oval into a senior-sized field would have involved clearing a stand of mature trees and large grass trees, believed to be several hundred years old.

“It has been admitted that an administrative error allowed the project to proceed to construction stage without any consultation,” Mrs Casey said.

One of the grass trees at Addison Park, believed to be several hundred years old.

“Centuries-old grass trees would have been destroyed, irretrievably changing the character and amenity of the area.”

At the July 2 meeting, she asked whether the results of an internal review would be made public “in the public interest of accountability and transparency”.

The City’s governance and legal manager Mustafa Yildiz said the review was ongoing but had already identified “gaps” and the City was implementing improvements, including developing checklists for projects.

Mr Yildiz said it would be up to the audit and risk committee and chief executive Daniel Simms to determine whether the final outcome was made public.

Community and place director Debbie Terelinck said the Addison Park project was on hold and the City was looking at other options to provide a senior oval to meet the needs of sports clubs.

The City has also put on hold plans to upgrade the clubrooms at Addison Park with two change rooms and more storage.

Plans included removing a pocket of bush south of the junior oval and mature trees to the south-west.

Residents love park for junior sport, passive recreation

Mrs Casey told the Times residents who opposed the removal of grass trees were not “anti-sport” but were concerned there was not room for a senior oval.

“We love the junior size oval; we love watching the kids playing sport,” she said.

“It’s about getting the balance right between the park’s function as a sports oval and more informal recreation.”

Addison Park users who want bush with grass trees retained.

Mrs Casey said she was concerned that if not for a chance encounter with a contractor while walking dogs at the park, casual users of the park might not have found out about the oval extension before the trees were removed.

“It hadn’t gone to community consultation,” she said.

“It took an awful lot of phone calls to finally get them to put a hold on it.”

The grandmother said she had lived in the area for 30 years, her grandchildren grew up playing hide-and-seek in the bush and she had formed many friendships with others who walked around the park.

“It’s a real community hub,” she said.

“This is a perfect example of what a neighbourhood park should be; we all coexist here perfectly happily.

“It’s well used and well loved.”