Playtime too costly

AN application for a park and playground in Jindalee worth about $3.8 million was sent back to the negotiating table by a development assessment panel last week.

Four members of the north west metropolitan panel considered Satterley Property Group’s proposal for Eden Beach on May 26, but deferred a decision to enable the developer and the City of Wanneroo to negotiate the plans.

A report by the City recommended the plans be refused due to concerns about depth and drowning risks in a grassed drainage basin and the cost of playground equipment.

The play equipment, which would include a stacked cube tower, a rope loop “sea slug”, a skywalk, slide, net and rope structures, would cost almost $2.25 million to install.

“The current developer proposal of $2,246,284 cannot be accommodated within City budgets (currently $40,000) for replacement at lifecycle end,” the City’s report said.

It said current budgets also allocated $2000 for annual maintenance of similar parks, but the proposal was likely to cost $80,000 a year to maintain.

The report said the retaining walls around the grassed drain-age area were not high enough to remain visible during floods, so someone wading through shallow water might suddenly find they were in deeper water.

At the meeting, Satterley senior development manager Grant Wilkins said the park would be a focal point for the north coast community to access the beach.

Landscape company EPCAD director Howard Mitchell said the location would be a “honey pot” attracting people from other areas.

“We are trying to attract people to this one and only access point – we have to get the population to the beach in the right location,” Mr Mitchell said.

He said the design would encourage people to use designated beach access routes and prevent further erosion in the foreshore reserve, which would be fenced.

Mr MItchell said they needed to provide facilities for a high level of use because about 7500 people would live in walking distance of the park.

“We have had advice from the City in what they are expecting – that is three swings, two slides and a climbing frame,” he said.

Wanneroo councillors Frank Cvitan and Russell Driver praised the playground plans, but raised concerns about the cost for the City after handover.

“At the end of the day, the City will inherit this,” Cr Cvitan said.

“While all the equipment is six-star, I’m not sure whether the City can maintain that in years to come.”

Describing it as the “Rolls Royce” of playgrounds, the City’s planning implementation manager Pas Bracone said there was a trend towards “over-development” in estates that was beyond the City’s ability to maintain.

“The City is receiving applications for a lot of subdivision with a lot of parks,” he said.

“Twenty years ago the City was being given just land with sand.

“The City may just not accept handover because it just can’t afford it.”

Mr Bracone said the City has agreements with some developers to continue maintaining assets or provide funding.

Mr Wilkins said smaller lots meant people moving into estates needed places to recreate and have parties.

“Their backyards aren’t big enough,” he said.

“They need public spaces with facilities to obviously recreate and entertain people.”

Planning to build the park this year, the developer said they would build toilets in late 2016, but could provide temporary facilities in the interim.

The councillors and specialist panel member Fred Zuideveld agreed to defer the application for six weeks for the applicant to undertake an independent risk assessment of the drainage basin and negotiate with the City’s staff about the value invested in the playground equipment.

The panel’s deputy presiding member Clayton Higham voted against the deferral, saying the cost issue was not a planning consideration.

UPDATE: Panel approves scaled down playground