MELVILLE councillors have approved a controversial $150,000 footpath on Beach Street in Bicton, giving pedestrians safer access to the Swan River.
More than 40 residents had signed a petition opposing the footpath, with some Beach Street residents concerned about access to their driveways.
But another petition, spearheaded by 11-year-old local Beth Lockwood, was in favour of the footpath.
The bold youngster addressed councillors at Tuesday’s Melville council meeting, saying the path would improve pedestrian safety, as currently locals with prams and canoes had to walk on the road to get to the river. Council recently undertook community consultation and estimated that around 200 people would benefit from the new path, which will run from the Point Walter Road-Beach Street intersection to Blackwall Reach Parade.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, councillors voted 8-5 in favour of the footpath.
Council officers reported that that “the greater needs of the city’s wider community and their aspirations may need to override the interests of a group of residents”, and that “the increase in safety and lifestyle amenity for all residents of the city…outweighs the objections raised by the residents of Beach Street”. The footpath was first proposed in 2002, but has been back and forward to council as residents argued over its merit.
by JUSTIN STAHL