A PETITION to save Maylands Waterland has been signed by 2700 people in its first week.
In July a divided Bayswater council voted to give themselves four months to find $3.2 million in external funding to refurbish the ageing waterpark or close it down.
They can’t get the cash and the quaint waterpark, popular with locals, is set to go down the gurgler.
Mayor Dan Bull said at the time of the vote the council simply couldn’t afford to upgrade Waterland.
“It would mean increasing rates by at least seven per cent,” Cr Bull said.
“I could not in good conscience agree to that sort of increase”.
South ward councillors Elli Petersen-Pik and Catherine Ehrhardt wanted to keep the quaint waterpark, and along with Filomena Piffaretti they voted against the “find a grant or close it down” plan.
Cr Bull says they’ve left no stone unturned, but haven’t been able to secure external funding.
“We promised the community we would explore all funding options available and have worked tirelessly to honour that commitment,” Cr Bull said.
“Council officers have met with senator Dean Smith, a senior advisor to senator Bridget McKenzie, Lisa Baker MLA, Donna Faragher MLC along with representatives from Lotterywest and the Department of Sport and Cultural Industries in an effort to secure funding.
“Financial support for the refurbishment of Maylands Waterland has also been sought from the private sector, philanthropists and water park operators, without success.
“I am disappointed to report that, despite our best efforts to-date, the city has been unable to secure funding for the refurbishment of Maylands Waterland.”
There’s one hail mary possibility: They still haven’t heard back from the local government department about a possible sport and recreation grant.
The change.org petition “Postpone the demolition” was started by the Friends of Maylands Waterland and the Maylands Residents and Ratepayers Association.
It’s called on the council to “postpone any closure of the facility until after the next state government election,” expected March 2021, to allow more time to seek external funds.
Cr Bull says “waiting a number of years to redevelop the facility is not an option. The facilities’ pools are deteriorating and no longer meet modern standards.
“In its current state there is a risk the facility will simply fail – this will lead to its immediate closure or significantly increased operational costs just to keep it open.
“We took a serious look at the financial viability of the project in the context of the 2018/19 budget. The truth is we simply can’t afford it.”
Cr Petersen-Pik’s urged people to sign the petition and vote with their feet: “The Waterland is now open for this season, and as decisions currently stand, this might be the facility’s last season,” he said.
“Attendance figures are always a crucial factor in determining if there is adequate justification to invest money in facilities, so bring along your families and friends.”
by DAVID BELL