Naming of City of South Perth facilities to be presented to council after John McGrath Pavilion and Hall backlash

Ernest Johnson Reserve (EJ) community facility buildings were named after South Perth MLA John McGrath.
Ernest Johnson Reserve (EJ) community facility buildings were named after South Perth MLA John McGrath.

A NEW policy provision for the naming of City of South Perth facilities states that prospective names must now be presented to council for consideration.

Sparked by public criticism over the renaming of facilities at Ernest Johnson Reserve after South Perth MLA John McGrath without any consultation, the provision was adopted at the City’s council meeting yesterday and will replace the current commemoration policy (P111).

In December 2017, Mayor Sue Doherty decided the naming of the John McGrath Pavilion and Hall was considered appropriate and a fitting tribute to Mr McGrath.

During question time at a council meeting in February she said her fellow councillors were not consulted before the decision was made and that was an error of judgement on her part for which she had apologised.

“The naming of such facilities is not something that happens on a regular basis,” Ms Doherty said.

“Without a precedent I made a judgment call (but) in retrospect I recognise the decision should have been made in collaboration with my fellow councillors and I have acknowledged this fact with each of them.”

The new provision, which now forms part of the City’s Policy 609, Management of City Property, allows shortlisted names to include prominent South Perth identities, persons who have made a significant contribution to and have had a long-term association with the South Perth community, traditional indigenous names relevant to a site, locality or with a relevant meaning, and or names that represent any relevant South Perth landmarks, flora or fauna.

Where a person’s name is involved, approval should be sought from the person or their family prior to the name being presented to council.

The revision was part of a mandatory annual policy review conducted at the City’s Audit, Risk and Governance Committee Meeting on March 6.

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