Residents outraged by cost blowouts at $600,000 playground at Wembley Athletics Centre

Residents outraged by cost blowouts at $600,000 playground at Wembley Athletics Centre

RESIDENTS were outraged at the Town of Cambridge council’s decision not to suspend works on the $600,000 playground at Wembley Athletics Centre.

Mayor Keri Shannon’s motion at the August 23 general council meeting to put a pause on the commencement of construction after a cost blow-out and concerns raised that existing traffic issues would be exacerbated was blocked by a majority vote.

Her reasoning was that “sufficient” community consultation had not been done on the updated design.

When the vote came through, there were outbursts from members of the gallery.

One called the council “disgusting” while another said they were afraid a car in the already busy area would hit a child.

Residents stormed out of the gallery, with one returning to collect a forgotten jacket , then slammed the gallery door upon exiting.

A $100,000 version of the playground was passed by the Town council as part of the Wembley Sports Park Master Plan master plan, but had since changed, with the cost going up by $500,000, a change of location and without further consultation.

Ms Shannon said she witnessed the site on the weekend and was “stunned with the amount of parking.”

“The roads are packed out all day Saturday,” she said.

“This playground design went from vanilla to a hum dinger that people will come from all over to use; this is not the right site.”

Councillor Corinne MacRae questioned the suspension of works.

“Then what?” she said.

“We do the consultation; residents tell us they don’t want it, then what?”

Ms Shannon said another site should be investigated

Cr Sonia Grinceri changed her mind on the playground and the proposed location.

“I regret last year supporting this motion,” she said.

“It would be foolish to think this would only be used during the week; it is the wrong place.

“If we don’t find an alternative site, then we will save $600,000 or we could downsize it.”