Stirling council supports oval loss for Balcatta development

Macedonia Park in Balcatta. Photo: Martin Kennealey
Macedonia Park in Balcatta. Photo: Martin Kennealey

STIRLING council is recommending reducing the size of sporting fields in Balcatta to make way for a residential development.

ABN Group is seeking to create 528 residential lots in the planned East Roselea estate, east of Grindleford Drive.

A City report presented at the November 20 council meeting recommended supporting the East Roselea Structure Plan but without a proposed ‘spine road’ running north from Karrinyup Road, which aimed to provide access for future residents to a shopping centre.

The road would run north from The Hire Guys through the Macedonian Community of WA’s site, home to Stirling Lions Soccer Club.

The Macedonian Community argued it was unacceptable as it would run through its change rooms and associated facilities but the report said the road would be built as part of a future subdivision when it no longer required the clubrooms.

Councillor Giovanni Italiano instead sought to have the road constructed on the City’s abutting land despite the report saying this would require making 3500sq m of the current sporting fields public road reserve and thus reduce the size of the fields.

It noted the park was “one of the few remaining pieces of land within the City which provides for sports fields to cater for the population growth”.

But Cr Italiano said the former market gardens site had not changed in more than 60 years and development would benefit ratepayers as the City owned 25 per cent of the lots.

He believed reducing the size of the soccer fields would not be a problem.

“Who’s going to care if the field is 180m long or 90m long?” he said.

But Cr Karen Caddy said the road would only cater for 55 residents while the oval supported “hundreds of kids”.

“We’re not just giving up a small portion of land, we’re giving up a whole playing field,” she said.

Cr Caddy said other sporting clubs were “crying out” for expansion and the developer was paying for the road regardless of the location.

Community development director Trevor Holland agreed, saying losing sporting space would be a “disaster” as nearby Balcatta Soccer Club was “bursting at the seams” and there was only 7 per cent public open space in Balcatta.

Cr Joe Ferrante suggested the developer should offer a “mutually agreeable” option and Cr Adam Spagnolo believed the road could be built on club land without affecting its buildings.

Lack of detail on the local water management plan and drainage also concerned City officers, with infrastructure director Michael Littleton cautioning councillors on making a decision without this.

Councillors eventually voted to recommend the WA Planning Commission approve the plan with changes including that the spine road relocated on to City land and an east-west road south of the Siciliani Association of WA be extended to connect to Grindleford Drive.

Crs Caddy, Mark Irwin and Elizabeth Re voted against.