CONSULTATION with Vincent locals over a proposed State Tennis Centre at Robertson Park has gone down like a John McEnroe rant.
Residents say they only got two days’ notice about the December 11 information session held by TennisWest, and of the nine people that showed up, some were unimpressed with the lack of information and accuracy of diagrams.
Vincent local Chris Hair said the centre diagram showed a car park extending into the children’s playground at the park, but TennisWest CEO Michael Roberts said the playground would remain untouched.
“The artist’s impression was just a guide, it wasn’t to be used as a ‘this is what it’s going to look like’ – it was more of an idea,” Mr Roberts said.
Mr Hair also noted that TennisWest and Vincent council were reluctant to share certain planning information because it was deemed “confidential”.
“The whole thing reeks of secrecy, concealment and a lack of transparency,” Mr Hair told the Voice.
“At the moment we’re facing no freedom of information. It was a bit like the Monty Python dead parrot sketch.”
Mr Roberts said that there was nothing confidential about the Robertson Park site, but other sites under consideration involved sensitive government information.
South Vincent Resident Group chair Mario D’Alonzo was generally supportive of the proposal, but had concerns about community access to the park.
“When you give [the park] to a corporate kind of body, suddenly they’re thinking business case and the whole thinking becomes different,” he said.
“They’ve got to make money, pay for the upkeep of the courts; they’ve got to be more financial.
”It’s not subsidised by the council for the community, it becomes more of a business thing.”
Mr D’Alonzo said if the development remained modest, as presented in the meeting, then the charm and beauty of the park would be marginally affected.
“The trouble is, once a lease is given to the state government, I don’t know how much Vincent can keep track of what happens there. Suddenly there’s a new plan; it gets a bit more technical.”
Another information session is planned for January, and local residents can comment on the proposed tennis centre on the Vincent council website, until January 20.
by SEAN HILL