There’s a huge push by South Perth residents to pressure the council to reconsider its decision to not appoint a project manager for a long-anticipated recreational and aquatic centre near Collier Park Golf Course last month.
The $80 million project has been on the cards for the area for more than a decade and required the appointment of a project manager by July 1 in order to secure $20 million in funding from the federal government.
However, in a meeting on June 28, five out of eight council members voted against the appointment of a project manager, leaving the promise of an aquatic facility in a precarious position.
Karawara resident George Watts says although South Perth is a wealthy council, the area is seriously lacking in quality facilities.
He’s created a petition for residents to try and persuade the council to change their mind about the decision.
“Our kids go to local schools and at the moment when they do swimming lessons, they have got to travel outside of the council to do their swimming lessons, so the additional time for them just to travel to and from for swimming lessons is an extra 45 minutes each way by the time they all pile onto buses and travel. That goes for all primary schools in the city of South Perth,” he says.
“I see it as an opportunity to get an amazing facility and in terms of the model that is proposed to be used it is one that is an absolute no brainer. The area has been crying out for a pool for over 60 years and it [the RAF] meets that requirement.”
South Perth councillor Carl Celedin voted yes to the appointment of a project manager and says the no vote may cause trouble for the area for receiving future grants.
“It has put the $20 million dollars of federal funding at risk, at significant risk. We have milestones to meet for the $20 million federal grant and we have missed one of those milestones. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t get it but it does put it at risk.”
Councillors who voted no to the appointment declined to comment.
Kensington resident Julie Barrett is also pushing the petition and says she is extremely disappointed at the council’s decision to vote down the appointment of a project manager.
“I think it’s crucial we get this sort of infrastructure in our community. We want to know if the council will stick to its own strategic plan and keep its promises to the city of South Perth residents. This has been promised and now it looks like it’s going down the drain,” she says.
“I’ve been looking for a heated pool to do rehab after knee surgery and have to go to Murdoch to find a suitable pool. The only facility is Aqualife in Victoria Park which can be crowded and that centre itself needs an update and needs to be refreshed. It would be good if there was one in our own area.”
Despite the no vote, the city says it is still very much committed to the project and is continuing to work with the federal government.
The full interview with Councillor Carl Celedin can be heard here: