Park plan is streets ahead 

• Ian Ellies, Emma Cole and Andrew Murphy from Vincent council when the Hyde Street reserve was being expanded.

A BOLD plan to turn roads into parks is being touted as the solution to Vincent council’s lack of public open space.

The inner city council has a chronic lack of parkland and passive spaces, especially in packed suburbs like parts of Highgate and Mount Hawthorn where it can be more than a 400m walk to a park. 

Mayor Emma Cole has asked Vincent staff to look at all possible solutions to get some public open space, from buying private land, leasing some space long term, and converting roads.

Councillor Dan Loden is pushing the road conversion plan and at this week’s council meeting said “the reason why we have a lack of public open space is because we have a plethora of roads”.

He said looking at a map of Vincent “there are roads everywhere… we would only need to allocate a very, very small percentage of them to be public open space and we’d have the highest connection to public open space of any community in the Perth region, I would hazard a guess.”

He said the council buying enough land to satisfy open space needs in cramped areas like Glendalough could take a decade and cost a fortune, but using its own roads was far cheaper.

The idea was tried once back in 2018 when a quiet part of Hyde Street was closed off to make a small reserve larger. 

Bargain

Cr Loden said “that expanded on the existing park, basically converting the neighbouring road into additional parkland and creating an additional 800sqm of public open space, for $220,000,” a bargain compared to buying private land.

“Just absolute huge bang for buck,” Cr Loden said, adding that selling off a Brentham Street block they own in Leederville would give them enough proceeds that “we could basically fix our entire public open space [shortage] and have money left over to spare, in one go”. 

Deputy mayor Susan Gontaszewski said she wanted to assure citizens “we’re not coming for your cars: If you go to Hyde Street Reserve, you’re going to see that the open space has been delivered without significant loss of roads utilised by local residents” and without hindering residents’ access to their homes.

They’ve sent council staff off to scout out roads that could be converted to parkland without landlocking any residences. 

by DAVID BELL

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