Technicality sinks plan for Waterland

A PLAN to keep Maylands Waterland open has been sunk by a council technicality.

Bayswater councillor Elli Petersen-Pik’s wanted to set aside $1.5 million of the city’s budget surplus to refurbish the ageing waterpark, but his proposal was torpedoed at a council meeting earlier this month.

At the meeting council CEO Andrew Brien said the proposal was a non-starter because it conflicted with a previous council resolution “not to proceed with any work on the Waterland facility”—referring to the July 3 decision to close the park if they couldn’t get funding within four months.

Meeting chair Cr Bull said “sorry councillor, we won’t be able to accept it on that basis.”

Cr Petersen-Pik started to say why he thought his motion didn’t contradict that decision. He got as far as “my motion, if I can explain,” before mayor Bull told him “No you can’t, because we’re under standing orders.”

The atmosphere got frosty as he tried twice more to explain it but was stopped each time: “Councillor, I’m ruling it,” Cr Bull said the final time.

Cr Petersen-Pik told colleagues he couldn’t support putting the $2 million budget surplus into the reserves.

Petition

“I cannot support it in good consciousness because I’m here on council to represent the community’s views, and I think it’s pretty clear that people have spoken.

“As all of you know almost 3000 people have signed the petition to keep the Maylands Waterland open.

“We witnessed once again an unprecedented support for this unique facility, what else do we want people to do to signal to us that this is their priority, that tearing down the Waterland for good should not be an option?” he said

The mayor ruled he was “not speaking on the motion”.

The last chance for Maylands Waterland looks to be Cr Petersen-Pik’s notice of motion on January 29: It proposes delaying a final decision on the water park until after the next state government election to give more time to secure funding.

The motion has been co-signed by fellow south ward councillor Catherine Ehrhardt, and councillors Filomena Piffaretti and Michelle Sutherland.

The council-owned playspace needs about $3million to stay open after the summer season, but earlier this month Cr Bull said “we simply can’t afford it”.

The council also has a grant application in with the local government department that they should find out about in February or March.

by DAVID BELL

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