Scrutiny ‘bypass’

ARDROSS locals are accusing a Melville city councillor of trying to bypass public scrutiny of plans to relocate Mount Pleasant Bowls Club.

They say Cameron Schuster keeps on lodging “late item” motions relating to the issue, meaning they don’t appear in the agenda that is circulated beforehand to the public.

Cr Schuster has taken a leading role in the bid to relocate the club to Shirley Strickland Reserve and sell the land it currently sits on to fund Strickland’s redevelopment. Many locals want Strickland preserved as green open space.

Strickland Oval Action Group member Stephanie Faulkner says every motion by Cr Schuster relating to the reserve and the club’s relocation have been late, and he lobbed another one at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Late motions fly under the radar of residents and are in not in the agenda briefings, so we don’t get time to prepare questions and scrutinise them,” she told the Herald. “It flies in the face of a council being transparent and open with ratepayers.”

Louis de Villiers, who attended the meeting and walks his dogs at the oval, describes the practise as “a deliberate attempt to bypass the democratic process and community”.

Cr Schuster says he merely wants to remind people of the financial realities.

“I wanted to head off the scare campaign from residents who think New York is going to appear in the middle of Ardross and remind people that the only way to fund the redevelopment of Shirley Strickland Reserve is by relocating the bowls club, or by raising rates by the order of 1.2 per cent for every million dollars required.”

A survey with more than 500 forms returned showed most don’t want the club moved to Shirley Strickland. Many offered additional comments.

Six clubs, including Applecross Cricket Club and Fremantle Rebels Softball, already share Shirley Strickland with dog walkers and locals.


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