Girrawheen grandmother throws shade at Wanneroo council over sail funding


Maureen Roberts at the Blackmore Park playground in Girrawheen.
Maureen Roberts at the Blackmore Park playground in Girrawheen.

A GIRRAWHEEN grandmother is upset at a Wanneroo City Council decision she says prioritises one suburb over another.

Maureen Roberts said she was “aghast” to read the Weekender’s October 27 report that the council voted to transfer funding for shade sails from Blackmore Park in Girrawheen to the recently built playground at Landsdale’s Warradale Park.

The decision deferred funding for Blackmore to the City’s Park Shade Structure Program for 2017-18.

She disagreed that the shelter was more needed at Warradale, a dedicated autism-friendly playground, and believed the decision disregarded users of Blackmore.

“I have a grandson who has a disability which is similar to autism,” she said.

MORE: The council decision to choose Landsdale over Girrawheen

“He likes going to the Blackmore Park because he feels safe there.

“I have met other families there with their children who have challenges that are similar to those with autism.

“It really riled me to think they were going to take away funding for something my grandchild and other children use.

“It made me feel my grandson was not worthy of having a playground that has shade.”

Mrs Roberts visits the park most weekends with her daughter and grandson, and said it was well-used.

“There definitely is a need for shade over the playground area because it’s exposed,” she said.

“They’ve recognised there’s a problem; they’d allocated the money.

“I can’t understand why they would take money away from children in Girrawheen and give to other children because of a mistake Council made.”

She has written to three South ward councillors, hoping for a reversal of the decision.

“In trying to give some children with disabilities equality, what the council is doing is creating inequality based on the perception that the users of Warradale Park are more worthy of the council’s funding than those who use Blackmore Park,” she said.

“I’m asking them to reconsider and surely they can look elsewhere for the money or otherwise Warradale Park may just have to wait like Blackmore Park has had to wait.”

City acting community and place director Noelene Jennings said the shade sails program was established in 2014 on a one per ward per year basis, with Ferrara Park in Girrawheen included in the 2015-16 budget.

“The provision of shade sails at Warradale was seen to be a priority given the high level of use since opening to the public,” she said.

“The playground has also been specially designed to incorporate activities to support children with autism, making the Warradale playground appeal to a wider demographic of the community.”

Though the decision deferred funding for the Blackmore shade sails to the following financial year, Ms Jennings said it would be considered in January.

“There is a process to consider projects like this and the shade sails at Blackmore Park will be listed for consideration in the mid-year review, which takes place in January 2017,” she said.

However, Mrs Roberts remained concerned the project would not eventuate.

“I don’t have any faith that they will provide shade sail funding this or next financial year,” she said.

“They shouldn’t have taken it away in the first place.”