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Steve Howlett, Fran Irwin and Frank Schneider camped on Midland Oval on Sunday night to protest the construction of a road through the green space. Picture: CLAIRE OTTAVIANO

Driven to action

A CAMP-OUT protest spurred by the imminent construction of a road through Midland Oval ended on Tuesday after the group was allegedly asked to move on by the City of Swan. 

The call-to-arms came after it became known The Avenue extension could start from as early as this week, despite a special electors’ meeting planned for Monday, June 18.

 The electors’ meeting will be held to request the council halt the road extention through Midland Oval.

It was reported by Save Midland Oval members that about 100 supporters rallied from 1pm on Sunday.

A smaller number of about 20 continued through two wet and windy nights and during the days before the camp was disbanded on Tuesday afternoon.

One of those all-nighters was Greens East Metropolitan MLC Tim Clifford who sided with Midland MLA Michelle Roberts who expressed disappointment the construction would go ahead one week before the scheduled electors’ meeting.

“People here were calling on this place to be developed into something like a Hyde Park, a place they could use, and as it’s one of the last great public open spaces in Midland, why the hell wouldn’t you,” he said. 

“Why wouldn’t you work with the community to build something that can be truly inclusive and add economic value to the area.”

Mr Clifford questioned Local Government Minister David Templeman in Parliament on Tuesday and  alleged the City of Swan had breached the Local Government Act by entering into a $32 million land acquisition before completing a Business Plan (pg 3). 

Save Midland Oval supporter and sleep-out attendee Fran Irwin said the oval had been an ongoing sadness for the past 20 years.

“There’s such potential for this site, they called it the New Junction without consulting us on its name, and we’re prepared to move ahead with the council if they can get things right, like having a quality infill having quality City park,” she said.

“They’re (CoS) pushing ahead and letting people forge on with the plan in the hope of shutting us up but it has the reverse result.

“This has cost $32m in land acquisition, we want them to spend money wisely in the future, and that doesn’t mean putting a road down that then needs to be taken up at some stage when the council listens to the community. 

“We are pro-development for this City, we’ve been pro-development for 20 years, what we’re pro is sensible, enlightened, future-looking design.”

City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the City was not required to wait for the outcomes of the special electors meeting in order to proceed with work.

“The City of Swan has granted approval to De Mol Investments Pty Ltd to construct stage 2 of The Avenue in Midland,” he said.

“De Mol Investments has undertaken testing and preliminary works at the site, and construction of the road is set to commence imminently.”

The subdivision of the land, which formally details the construction of The Avenue through the site, was approved by the WA Planning Commission on March 26. 

“De Mol Investments received development approval on March 2 and is free to move forward with construction now that they have received the necessary approvals,” Mr Foley said.  

De Mol Investments has undertaken geo-testing and other preliminary works at the site.

Workmen were at the site on Thursday line marking the next phase of construction  which will see The Avenue built to limestone grade.

The City has issued a notice asking residents to keep away from the area.

By Claire Ottaviano

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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