Melville council votes no to a funding plan to build much-wanted park amongst Canning Bridge high-rise

Local News, PerthNow - Melville

The push to create prized parkland in the Canning Bridge district has again stalled, with a split City of Melville council this week voting down a concept design for the Mt Pleasant super block, along with its $1.7 million price tag.

It means the project to convert a riverfront block that runs between The Esplanade and Kishorn Road into parkland remains in limbo, with no funding allocated either this year or into the future.

Hundreds of petitioners and a packed public gallery for Tuesday’s council meeting were not enough to sway council to support its own officers’ recommendation to get the ball rolling.

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It is the latest development in a protracted fight over the council-owned space, which has at times been earmarked for both lucrative development and highly desired green space for the growing precinct to enjoy.

In recent times it has been used as a carpark.

The council voted 12 months ago for the block’s future to be public open space containing new trees, a children’s playground and seating.

City staff then put the idea out for public consultation and produced a concept design and costings required to create and maintain the park, which the council was first asked to support in February.

Staff had asked for $100,000 to be allocated immediately and $1.6m from next year’s budget, money that some councillors and senior staff claim could be clawed back in a matter of years through a rates uplift from the park improving the area.

“Being close to a park increases property values, increases gross rental value and increases rates payable,” Cr Clive Ross said, suggesting that financial parity could occur within just four years.

But more elected members disagreed than agreed with his stance and a 5-6 vote defeated the recommendation that would have kick-started the long-held park dream into reality.

“We need much more bang for our buck from this site”, Cr Scott Green said, reiterating that the council previously favoured leasing the prime land and spending the revenue on other vital projects.

The non-funding decision came after the council in February had voted to defer any further spending decisions until this month.

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