HAPPY tails have been wagging on Shirley Strickland Reserve in Mt Pleasant, with local dog walkers praising Melville council’s redevelopment of the green space.
It’s a far cry from the battle they fought back in 2016 when former councillor Cameron Schuster spearheaded plans to relocate the suburb’s struggling bowling club there, a move the walkers feared would push them off and ruin the park’s botanic garden feel.
“Frankly, we can hardly believe it – there is a large community building being constructed, really enticing pathways have been installed all around the park,” says local resident Stephanie Faulkner who’d played a key role in seeing off the bowls plan.
“In the last instalment, there are massive plantings going on now with lots of WA native plants, including stands of banksias, all around the grounds and verges.”
She says that will help increase the park’s birdlife.
“There is an emerging consensus that this is a good news story, with our once sadly neglected park being transformed beautifully – it is heartening to see such a turnaround,” she said.
The dog walkers are holding their annual Dog and Companion Christmas Party on Sunday December 19, where Ms Faulkner will running a raffle to raise funds for the Climate Council.
If she can hit the $3,500 mark, she’ll qualify to join the Climate Council’s five-day trek of the Tarkine Rainforest in Tasmania next year.
Ms Faulkner says her fellow dog walkers have been so generous, she’s had to run two raffles – one for walkers and one for doggies.
“As for the trek itself, the decision to embark on it was a big one for me,” she said.
“I retired from my desk job five years ago – so I’m not young – and my main form of exercise over the last 20 or so years has been to walk my small dog, so a five-day trek will be quite some challenge.”
There was one concern about the redevelopment from retired fire fighter Trevor Carboon, who was shocked to see piles of feeder roots after the council prepared garden beds around the park’s mature trees.
Mr Carboon feared the damage would kill off some of the park’s varied mature trees, which were planted about 50 years ago as a botanic garden. He also queried why the council was planting in the summer heat, saying that would negate the water-saving effects of native plants.
Melville mayor George Gear said the council ran its designs past a trained arborist and had taken other precautions to protect the trees.
“One of the key precautions we took was to install boardwalks instead of traditional asphalt paths, which have less disturbance of the trees’ feeder roots,” Mr Gear said.
“As works progress we are continuing to monitor tree health and if any decline is noted, we will take remedial action.”
He said the seedlings couldn’t go in earlier because the retic and paths had to be completed first, but they’d been given extra water and had been chosen for their hardiness.