Water-free Waterland? 

MAYLANDS Waterland could become Maylands Landland, with plans afoot by Bayswater council to get rid of the pools.

Maylands ward councillors Elli Petersen-Pik and Catherine Ehrhardt are dead against the plan and want the pools to stay.

A couple years back the city was looking at closing the pools because they were in need of expensive refurbishment and it cost a lot to keep them running.

They held an intensive community consultation process costing $50,000 and the message from participants was loud and clear – Waterland should stay.

In June last year councillors approved a $3.2 million plan to restore Waterland, which included a new cafe. So far they’ve spent $20,000 on design work and $50,000 on consultation.

This week the draft budget was released, and a single seemingly innocuous line item could spell doom for Waterland – instead of money for an upgrade there’s a proposal for a regular, open playground.

• Youngsters having a splash at Maylands Waterland in 2016. File photo

Cr Petersen-Pik says: “The community has been consulted and made its views clear. Two public commitments to keep the Waterland have been made. Ratepayers money has already been spent. Nevertheless, a closure is now being proposed without explicit justification for the change.”

“Such a major, irreversible decision should not be mentioned in one line in the budget papers”.

He cites attendance figures from the past few years, saying they show increasing popularity, with 29,000 people visiting in 2015-16 and nearly 36,000 last summer.

“Maylands Waterland is a unique facility in the whole of the state, if not the whole of Australia,” said Cr Ehrhardt.

“At a subsidy of $5.50 per head that’s not too bad in terms of public enjoyment.

“It is really important that local governments think about service provision as a core role rather than trying to be a business entity. If we did that, there would be no Bayswater Waves, which loses around a million dollars a year and is currently in a staged $12 million redevelopment, and we certainly wouldn’t have any libraries or such.

“The community spoke, and the majority said they wanted Waterland.”

The budget is due to be voted on Tuesday July 3 at 6.30pm. Cr Petersen-Pik is urging anyone who wants to save the Waterland to come along and speak up during public question time.

The Voice contacted Bayswater council, but they didn’t get back to us.

by DAVID BELL

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