Park parking parked 

A PUSH to kick cars off Wilson Park in South Fremantle has failed.

Beachside residents have long gnashed their teeth about parking on the turf, particularly since 2016 when Fremantle council voted to open it up to overflow parking during busy summer months when the Friday markets are held.

But at Wednesday’s council meeting south ward councillor Marija Vujcic failed to get a single backer for her motion to keep the park free of parking, festivals or markets.

Cr Vujcic told the council the park’s vesting order made anything other than recreation “unlawful” but the state planning, lands and heritage department says parking is “ancillary to the purpose of recreation” and therefore permitted.

“… facilitating these ancillary activities is currently costing ratepayers around $40,000 per year to maintain and repair damage done to the reserve,” Cr Vujcic said.

Officers noted in a report to council that sections of the park had been roped off and landscaped, protecting them from parking and enhancing their value for recreation.

“An important reason for permitting overflow parking on Wilson Park for the adjacent South Beach recreation reserve during high use times of the year is to alleviate street parking pressure on surrounding residential streets,” the report said.

Fellow south warder Andrew Sullivan said the motion would have denied people accessing the beach, which “goes against the years of work I have put in to get South Beach and Wilson Park improved”.

Noting that when he bought his South Freo home in 1985 the beach was little used and eroding, Cr Sullivan said in the 90s he helped steer its stabilisation and improvement.

He believes this helped create the trendy South Terrace commercial strip and lifted prices in the suburb.

“South Beach has become increasingly popular, and that means cars,” he said, adding he thought the council had found the right balance between parkers and recreation.

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