Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

SOUTH Perth is fa­mous for its parks, trees, green spa­ces. That is why so many of us bought into this beau­ti­ful area.

We’ve al­ways been con­fi­dent that ar­eas like Sir James Mitchell are pro­tected from be­ing sold off to high­est bid­der be­cause it was re­served land vested to the care of coun­cil and, by de­fault, the ratepay­ers. The level of com­mu­nity angst around the pro­posal of a Wes­tralian cen­tre on Sir James Mitchell Park should be send­ing a very strong mes­sage to the South Perth Coun­cil – peo­ple are fed up.

Any new de­vel­op­ment, no mat­ter if a pri­vate in­vestor or by gov­ern­ment, should en­hance an area not de­stroy or de­grade it.

This pro­posal is a grab bag of ideas with no clear story. Is it a mil­i­tary me­mo­rial, a South Perth her­itage ex­pla­na­tion or just an­other ex­cuse for a cof­fee shop? Seems like it is a "throw ev­ery­thing in and hope some­thing will stick”.

No one likes be­ing pushed into mak­ing a de­ci­sion on such a sen­si­tive and iconic strip of park­land with so many un­knowns or to feel like they're hav­ing the wool pulled over their eyes.

As it stands, this pro­posal and the de­ci­sion mak­ing process, do not pass the “pub test”.

If this Light Horse Me­mo­rial houses sig­nif­i­cant mem­o­ra­bilia with a plaque of WA mil­i­tary per­son­nel – it’s prob­a­bly a great idea.

If it's worth­while – then ar­tic­u­late that clearly.

I’m the grand­daugh­ter of a Light Horse­man and ap­pre­ci­ate there are fan­tas­tic sto­ries to tell about South Perth's in­volve­ment in WW1 – like the first di­rec­tor of Perth Zoo, Ernest Le Souf, who sourced horses for the Light Horse, sta­bling and train­ing them in this area.

No one wants park­land to be de­stroyed for any­thing triv­ial like car park­ing, so what­ever is de­cided it should be cy­cle and walk only. Beau­ti­ful open parks with fresh air and won­der­ful trees are South Perth’s great­est as­set and are be­com­ing more unique ev­ery day. VICKI REDDEN South Perth Penin­sula Ac­tion Group

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