City of Nedlands rejects Westside Wolves hockey pitch proposal

Stock image.
Stock image.

CITY of Nedlands has rejected Westside Wolves Hockey Club’s plan to build a synthetic hockey pitch in the City for the fourth time in less than a decade.

Councillors unanimously agreed at a council meeting on Tuesday night to reject the club’s proposal to build the pitch at Mt Claremont Oval Reserve, due to a lack of support from existing tenants and community members.

“I think it’s a terrible decision and it’s been made because they don’t want controversy – as long as you have noisy, vocal pressure groups, that’s how it will be,” Westside Wolves Hockey Club board member Dr Ric Charlesworth said.

Westside Wolves Hockey Club play at Cresswell Park and also utilise one quarter of a pitch at Shenton College.

“For our membership, the average in WA is 1900 for a pitch but we have 4000 from three clubs using one pitch – it’s a crisis and has been oncoming for many years,” Dr Charlesworth said.

The oval services about 2740 sports club members plus the Mt Claremont Primary School community, as well as participants in the Kidz’n Sport Program.

Dr Charlesworth said the reason why the club had chosen Mt Claremont Oval Reserve as a potential home base was because it was underutilized.

“It only has about 100 games of all sports in a year, it’s not overlooking houses and all existing users could still operate, so we ticked all boxes,” he said.

“Our sport will wither and die – it’s already got a lot of headwind unless we can have facilities […] we’re losing players because of the travelling and we’re a big, proud club, with elite and junior players.”

According to an officer’s report, submissions from clubs that use the oval did not support the proposal.

However, 1134 people supported the proposal, 930 rejected it and 15 were unsure.

The City also received a letter from the Department of Education that stated the proposal posed “no undue impact on the operation of the Mt Claremont Primary School”.

Cr Nigel Warren Shaw said the mobilisation of the community on the back of the Westside Wolves application struck him as “a little unfortunate”.

“It took a proposal like this for them to fall in love with the space again and take responsibility of the space,” he said.

Mt Claremont resident Susie Moir told the City the proposal was contrary to the community’s values.

“To take half the oval and create a pitch and clubhouse would reduce the quality of space and leave people with a disgraced space – it’s too small and valuable to use and create a synthetic hockey turf,” she said.

Dr Charlesworth said he was disappointed by the City’s decision but was certain the club would continue to find a solution.

“Our search will continue and we would rather the city cooperate,” he said.