Hubbub over hub at Dixon

THE Hamilton Hill Community Group wants Cockburn council to “slow down” its bid for federal funding to develop Dixon Reserve into a regional sporting hub.

At the last council meeting mayor Logan Howlett announced Cockburn would join 10 outer metropolitan councils in lobbying for $350 million in federal grants to boost a proposed future fund for sports facilities.

Cockburn wants to use the fund replace the Wally Hagan Rec Centre with a new six-court multipurpose sports stadium and re-turf Dixon Reserve with an AFL-sized oval and two new rectangular playing fields with lighting.

• The three development options for Dixon Reserve.

Limbo

“Our view is that this is all a bit premature,” says Tobias Busch, chair of the nascent community group.

“It’s not even that we don’t want to see a sport hub. There just needs to be more discussion.”

Mr Busch says Dixon Park is surrounded by pockets of land in “limbo” and stakeholders need to be brought together to make sure they all integrate.

“You’ve got a huge site that belongs to Land Corp next to Dixon Park, and then you’ve got the Roe 9 reserve nearby belonging to Main Roads, which is supposed to become the Cockburn Wildlife Corridor,” he says.

“There’s a lot of parties that haven’t come to the table yet, and at the moment the consultation the city is doing is using a survey with closed questions – it’s not the way we want it to be done.”

A council study last year identified a need for recreation facilities in suburbs west of Stock Road to cater for population growth over the next decade.

The study proposed three development options for Dixon Park;

• expansive development to extend facilities on adjacent land owned by Main Roads WA;

• a new build contained within the park; and,

• re-clad the existing basketball stadium and extend within the park.

Another residents group Dixon Park Friends wants to restore the park as a wetland with an interactive rain garden using stormwater for irrigation, while also incorporating some sporting facilities such as a junior cricket field, horse track, two junior soccer fields and extending Wally Hagan.

DPF member Christine Duckham says many people use the park for dog walking, and a group of African migrants plant their annual crops next to the community garden.

“They plant their sweet corn and their sweet potato, and the area gets used by all sorts of users; kids go there to test model planes, there’s a nature park…many people in the area would like to see the former wetland restored.”

She says she’s worried council’s option 1 seeping onto Main Roads land won’t support the proposed Cockburn Wildlife Corridor.

Mr Busch says everyone needs to take a step back and look at their proposals as a “wish list”.

“The city presents sporting grounds, Dixon Park Friends present something much more environmental. Eventually you’ve got to take all of these as ideas much more than plans, and see if there is a middle ground.”

Under the council’s plan, the reserve would also get a bike pump track, skate park, seating and pathways.

“A new stadium could host a wide variety of sporting codes like basketball, netball, volleyball and indoor soccer while the reserve could be used by sporting codes such as soccer, rugby, lacrosse, AFL and cricket,” said mayor Logan Howlett.

by MOLLY SCHMIDT

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