Mosman Park Council puts The Grove operations under microscope

MOSMAN Park Council wants to investigate operations at The Grove library and community centre it jointly runs with Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove councils.

“We are still operating under the original construction agreement and there are areas in that which are no longer relevant,” Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said.

The councils partnered to build the $17 million facility, commissioned in 2010, which also houses Peppermint Grove council.

The building had problems with some of its environmental systems and the community centre is considered a financial drain by some Mosman Park councillors.

After opening, issues included the centre losing $63,000 in 2012-13, $147,000 spent on a new hot-water bore and a wind turbine being too low.

In 2016, Mosman Park agreed to review The Grove and after closing the June meeting to the public, councillors agreed to again ask Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove councils to review the building’s management agreement and library operations.

They will give the review’s business case to Peppermint Grove council, ask for an investigation into “commercialisation” of the community centre and discuss providing $40,000 for the investigation in the 2017-18 Mosman Park budget.

The requests follow Cr Zenda Johnson writing a case for the reviews, statistics gathered comparing The Grove with other WA libraries, and lawyers McLeods reviewing the management agreement, before suggesting changes.

Asked if his council wanted to cut costs at The Grove, Mr Norris said there was “no question” the councils wanted it to deliver for residents, but “optimum” use had to be considered.

“Perhaps the library, the community areas and the garden could be used for commercial events which would generate additional revenue, but we won’t know unless we look and that is what the proposed review is intended to achieve,” he said.

Peppermint Grove chief executive John Merrick said it was “impossible” to comment because his council had not been told of the proposals, and a Cottesloe council spokeswoman said it would comment after talks with the other councils.