Drago dropped

PLANS for a $25 million revamp of Frank Drago Reserve are dead in the water.

Bayswater city council has torn up its masterplan for the site, following a backlash from the community over what was derided as a “flawed” public consultation process.

In May the council unveiled its draft vision for the site but petitioners claimed soccer, tennis, bowling and croquet clubs that share the reserve didn’t get an equal look in.

Critics argued the football club was the big winner at the expense of the smaller clubs.

The council has now scaled down its plans and will focus on redeveloping the tennis clubhouse, helping the bowling club grow its membership and undertake a fresh round of consultation.

‘A-League outfit’

“We didn’t really have a masterplan, all we were doing was using ratepayers’ funds to turn Bayswater Soccer Club into an A-League outfit,” Cr Terry Kenyon said.

“That’s not the role of the city—our job is to look after all the kids, families and clubs who use the reserve. If BSC want to play in the A-League they have to fund it themselves and should take a leaf out of West Coast Eagles’ redevelopment of Lathlain Park.

“The masterplan would have put the city in debt for 20 years, with very little benefit to the ratepayers.”

Soccer club member Greg D’Orazio says Cr Kenyon is “misinformed”.

“We play in the National Premier League and from our perspective, we wanted to get our facilities up to NPL standards, that’s how all this started,” he says.

“The bottom line is we that need more space and we will continue to push for that.

“It’s a disappointing outcome from Bayswater council, but hopefully after some more consultation, we can get things moving again.

“This club gives a lot of pleasure to many people in the community.”

Mayor Sylvan Albert acknowledges public consultation did not meet community expectations, but says it would be wrong to the chuck the entire plan in the bin and adopt a “piecemeal” approach.

“It is clear we need some sort of overall vision for the site,” he says.

“We need to go back out to the community and consult with them again, rather than address a couple of issues individually.

“There is a lot of ageing infrastructure at the park and issues that need to be addressed collectively.”

Councillors Chris Cornish and Mike Anderton said the BSC had outgrown Frank Drago Reserve and it should look at relocating to Pat O’Hara Reserve.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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