Spectator fee scrapped

City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano with Woodlands Primary School Year 6 students, from left, Rebecca Shepherdson and Grace Izett [NAMES OK]
City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano with Woodlands Primary School Year 6 students, from left, Rebecca Shepherdson and Grace Izett [NAMES OK]

A 148-signature petition requesting the fee to be removed was tabled at a council meeting in December last year.

The item was put on the agenda for the March 5 meeting but deferred to this month after it became clear the organiser of the petition was not aware the item was being dealt with.

At the following March 26 council briefing, petition organiser Alison Davis, who has attended Wanneroo Aquamotion for nearly five years, asked if councillors thought it was a good idea to charge people for encouraging their children to take swimming lessons.

‘I think swimming lessons are imperative to Australian culture to learn how to swim and a recent event in Mindarie is a perfect example of why kids need be taught how to swim properly,’ she said.

Mrs Davis was referring to the drowning of 13-year-old Jenon George Biwot at Claytons Beach on March 17.

She also said she thought paying $1.80 for a 35-minute swimming lesson was excessive.

City businesses director Karen Caple said there was an opportunity for councillors to re-visit the second adult spectator fee in next financial year’s budget.

When voting on the item the f City administration’s recommendation not to withdraw the fee was lost and Cr Dot Newton’s alternative to withdraw thefee was passed unanimously.

‘Parents here are paying a significant amount for their children to learn to swim and I’m really pleased that that does occur,’ Cr Newton said.

‘I think back to the times when I used to go and watch my sons and how thrilled they were when another person was able to come along and watch them.

‘I think that recent events have taught us that learning to swim with the amount of coastline that we have is paramount.’

Cr Denis Hayden seconded Cr Newton’srecommendation.

A City of Wanneroo document stated one spectator was allowed free entry, but a second was charged $1.80, which was in line with other local government and state aquatic facilities.

The additional fee was to cover usage of toilets, change rooms, utilities, cleaning and first aid if required.