Stairway to wellbeing on the agenda

Whitfords Nodes Park, Hillarys.
Whitfords Nodes Park, Hillarys.

CONSTRUCTION of a staircase similar to Jacob’s Ladder at Kings Park is on the agenda at tonight’s Joondalup Council meeting.

The Harbour Rise Homeowners Association has proposed a staircase for fitness be built at Whitfords Nodes Park in Hillarys, linking the grassed area to the north-east lookout.

Paul Mavor, representing the Harbour Rise Homeowners’ Association, said at last week’s briefing the staircase would have ‘major health benefits associated with fitness and weight loss’.

‘Many people don’t always get involved with organised sport such as football, cricket, tennis, and they prefer to exercise on their own such as jogging, cycling and in this case, climbing stairs, so a lot of people would use this facility,’ he said.

‘We’re proposing to build something bigger, wider and newer (than Jacob’s Ladder) in the City of Joondalup.

‘Jacob’s Ladder is 1.3m wide and we’re proposing to build something 2m wide with bigger landings.’

It is estimated the project would cost $392,500 ” with $3000 per year maintenance costs ” and the only external funding possible would be a maximum of $100,000 through the Lotterywest Trails Grants Program.

But Mr Mavor said he had approached Lotterywest and uncapped grant funding was available through the Big Ideas project or the Community Spaces grant.

The association first proposed the project to the City in March 2012.

The City then commissioned environmental consultants to assess the long-term effects and state and federal approvals required if it was to go ahead.

City officers have recommended the proposal not be supported because there are paths in good condition already linking the park to two lookouts.

They also said approvals could be costly to pursue and are not assured, plus external grant funding, if successful, would only cover some of the cost and there are potential adverse environmental effects.

‘Clearing vegetation for construction has the potential to produce serious dune blowouts due to loose sand being exposed to prevailing winds,’ a council document said.

Mr Mavor said the ‘environmental impact would be very low’ and the staircase would ‘sit above the vegetation’.

He said environmental approvals were a hurdle, but he thought they would be easy to obtain.

‘We have consulted with all the community, all the schools, all the sporting organisations and quite a few other community groups and everyone has been 100 per cent in support of this facility being built,’ he said.

Whitfords Nodes Park is in a Bush Forever site.