DIY consult

A MELVILLE mayoral candidate wants to bypass paid consultants and let the community run its own process to design a new town square in Applecross.

Applecross/Mt Pleasant ward councillor Clive Ross has already flagged a motion for the next council meeting and wants the group to run along the lines of the Council Reference Group which recently reviewed the Canning Bridge Activity Centre Plan and trumped the City-appointed consultants when its version was forwarded to the WAPC as Melville’s preferred option.

Cr Ross wants to transform a council-owned property in Moreau Mews into a vibrant town centre in the Canning Bridge precinct, to serve as a hub for the entire Melville community. 

“The vision is to have a town centre that will be attractive to the community across Melville, not just for Applecross, or for Mt Pleasant, or for Attadale, or for any of the riverside suburbs,” Cr Ross said.

• Cr Ross says paid consultants aren’t always capturing community sentiment. Photo by Steve Grant

“It needs to be attractive and provide space where adults and children, and others, will be drawn to come along and just relax and meet friends, do the things that communities do.”

He says consultants can be constrained by the scope of a project and he wants everything on the table. 

“For example, you’ve got a town centre, where do people from other areas park? Do we look at subterranean parking…?”

Cr Ross was one of the thousands of tourists attracted a waterpark in Lima, Peru, to see a fountain shooting up nine storeys high and a 100-metre ‘tunnel’ of water with lighting to make it change colour as you walk through. 

“We’re not going to achieve that level, but at the same time, we can do better than just planting a few trees, putting in a few seats and maybe a barbecue and saying, ‘Hey, look, this is our town centre’,” he said.

“We need to explore those ideas, because the contention that something is too expensive will only be borne out after due consideration.

“If you block it out at day one, you’ll never get that opportunity to, to consider it.”

Cr Ross said he’d spoken to the developers who own the two properties abutting the proposed square and said they were open to putting cafes at the ground level; he says they could fund some of the town centre in exchange for allowing alfresco areas to spill into the public area – if the community group was on board. 

“One of the impacts of having a very attractive town square would be the values of the surrounding properties would increase more than they would without that,” he said.


Cr Ross believes that the European experience of town squares is worth emulating, where people gather in the evenings to promenade and share a social atmosphere. 

“We’re not going to get the Trevi Fountain, but let’s be confined to reality and we can still achieve,” he said.

Apart from the town square project, Cr Ross said if mayor he would focus on improving facilities for sporting clubs, saying the City hadn’t been a great landlord in terms of maintaining them.

But he’s broadly supportive of the City’s sporting strategy which calls for more co-location of groups, saying it can create a more cohesive and family-oriented approach. 

He’s raised concerns about the council’s installation of exercise equipment in parks, particularly when it might be competing against privately-owned gyms or clubs.

“Everyone says that when you’re using sports equipment, there should be people there who are making sure you’re using it correctly, or you could injure yourself. 

“I questioned the legalities and the insurance liabilities and so on, of the City providing equipment without any supervision, or in whether they go out every week and check that the equipment is in working condition.”

He also wants to update Melville council’s policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with contemporary needs and standards. 


Leave a Reply