Ping pong ding dong

A TWO-STOREY table tennis centre overlooking the river in East Fremantle is on the cards as recreation facilities along Preston Point Road are revamped.

East Fremantle council recently started work on a new master plan for the northern end of Preston Point Road following pressure from several sporting clubs who want to either expand or rejig their premises.

Clubs in the area include tennis, soccer, junior football, cricket, lacrosse and the East Fremantle Yacht Club.

East Freo’s economic and community development officer Karen Dore said they needed a master plan to help guide that expansion so the clubs’ aspirations didn’t clash and any opportunities to collaborate were identified early.

“The consultant we’ve appointed (ABV Leisure) has a lot of experience in this area, so he is going to look at those plans and make suggestions,” Ms Dore said.

One of the more controversial plans is for the two-storey table tennis centre which has been earmarked for disused courts at the lawn tennis club.

Nearby resident Jan Pecotic says the first she heard of the initiative was a flyer from a real estate agent two months ago suggesting she and neighbours call to discuss its impact on their property prices.

Ms Pecotic says that was code for “sell up before they drop”.

She got hold of preliminary plans which show the centre tucked against a large embankment along the road, and says that with some screening it mightn’t have a great effect from her ground floor.

Rooftop viewsd

But neighbours could potentially be looking over a very large and boring tin roof if the plan goes ahead, she warns.

But Ms Pecotic says that’s not her greatest concern, as the plans also include clubrooms with a bar.

“You already have the soccer club, the cricket club, the tennis club, the yacht club and the water polo club all within a five-minute walk; that’s already a lot of places selling alcohol.

“Do we need any more?”

She wants to know whether a shared facility to replace the tennis club’s ageing clubrooms has been explored.

Ms Pecotic was also critical of East Fremantle’s consultation, saying she received a survey from the council in her letterbox last Thursday, giving her only until Monday afternoon to return them. One of two information sessions was also on Monday, giving her little time to find out what’s happening before having to hand them in.

But Ms Dore said the deadline had been extended because some of the information in the accompanying flyers needed to be updated.

Ms Dore said information about the table tennis centre hadn’t been included because the council hadn’t received a development application yet.

“It’s not really that kind of plan; it’s more a strategy or vision than what goes on the ground.”

Ms Dore said the council wanted to make sure residents who use the grounds for activities such as walking or exercising their dogs were also catered to.

She’s hoping to have a draft of the master plan ready for the council’s April round of meetings, and says it would then go out for comment.

by STEVE GRANT

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