Opinion: People fed up with Westralian Centre proposal

An artist's impression of the proposed Westralian Centre concept.
An artist's impression of the proposed Westralian Centre concept.

SOUTH Perth is famous for its parks, trees, green spaces. That is why so many of us bought into this beautiful area.

We’ve always been confident that areas like Sir James Mitchell are protected from being sold off to highest bidder because it was reserved land vested to the care of council and, by default, the ratepayers. The level of community angst around the proposal of a Westralian centre on Sir James Mitchell Park should be sending a very strong message to the South Perth Council – people are fed up.

Any new development, no matter if a private investor or by government, should enhance an area not destroy or degrade it.

This proposal is a grab bag of ideas with no clear story. Is it a military memorial, a South Perth heritage explanation or just another excuse for a coffee shop? Seems like it is a “throw everything in and hope something will stick”.

No one likes being pushed into making a decision on such a sensitive and iconic strip of parkland with so many unknowns or to feel like they’re having the wool pulled over their eyes.

As it stands, this proposal and the decision making process, do not pass the “pub test”.

If this Light Horse Memorial houses significant memorabilia with a plaque of WA military personnel – it’s probably a great idea.

If it’s worthwhile – then articulate that clearly.

I’m the granddaughter of a Light Horseman and appreciate there are fantastic stories to tell about South Perth’s involvement in WW1 – like the first director of Perth Zoo, Ernest Le Souf, who sourced horses for the Light Horse, stabling and training them in this area.

No one wants parkland to be destroyed for anything trivial like car parking, so whatever is decided it should be cycle and walk only.

Beautiful open parks with fresh air and wonderful trees are South Perth’s greatest asset and are becoming more unique every day.

VICKI REDDEN

South Perth Peninsula Action Group