Chip and a slice

A MEMBER of Fremantle council’s advisory committee for Booyeembara Park says he’s concerned a plan to slice a bit of it off for the public golf course next door is flying under the community radar.

Haakon Nielssen says that while many people have been celebrating Main Roads’ decision to save an avenue of tuart trees when it upgrades the High Street intersection with Stirling Highway, they’re perhaps not aware that it will come at a cost to the park.

The extra-wide median strip to house the trees and curve approaching the intersection means the road reserve will be pushed south where it will cut into two holes of the golf course. The course land is owned by the council but managed by a private company.

The company has asked Fremantle council to give it some land on Booyeembara so it can redesign the course to maintain its nine holes, arguing that not many golfers would be interested in a shortened version of the game.

Mr Nielssen says that although he’s partial to a round of cheap, off-peak golf at the course, taking over part of the park would undermine its design and be a poor outcome for the community.

“I have always maintained that it is the golf course’s problem,” he says of the impact of the road upgrade.

• Haakon Nielssen and son Sasha don’t want to be giving up space at Booyeembara Park for the public golf course. Photo by Steve Grant

Blind spot

A former parks and gardens officer with the council a decade ago, Mr Nielssen says he doesn’t want to throw grenades to undermine mayor Brad Pettitt, but says the corner of the park near the golf course seems to have been a blind spot for the council for years.

It’s still got a gate that harks back to when it was known as the Montreal Open Space, while what’s supposed to have been a stunning grove of pencil pines has failed miserably with just a few stunted specimens surviving. The dead ones were left standing for years until a recent clean-out by new contractors appointed to maintain the park.

The road that was to be the grand entrance to the park is still nothing more than an access track.

Dr Pettitt acknowledges there may be some flow-on effect at Boo Park as a result of Main Roads’ work.

“We’re working with Main Roads and the community to look at the best ways to manage these impacts,” he told the Herald.

“Nothing has been decided yet, and we welcome community input as we try to come up with a solution that the majority of people can accept.

“That said, it many not be possible to save the majority of mature trees, retain a functioning nine-hold golf course and have no impact on the northern boundary of Boo Park. If that is the case some difficult decisions, taking into account community feedback, will need to be made.”

Mr Nielssen says with the project getting towards the pointy end, he wants residents’ views canvassed now so the community’s not left with a fait accompli when Main Roads signs off on its final plan.

by STEVE GRANT

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