WORK started on the Midland Oval redevelopment this morning with a front end loader turning over the first line of turf to make way for the extension of The Avenue.
There was a police presence when work crews arrived to start on the new road two days after protestors made a stand on the oval, pitching tents to stay overnight, from Sunday through to Tuesday.
They were asked to move on before the City of Swan issued a statement advising people “not to enter the construction site for their own safety”.
Residents, Save Midland Oval supporters and Altone ward councillor Andrew Kiely watched from the sidelines.
Cr Kiely, who removed himself from voting on issues to do with Midland Oval in May, said he had previously raised concerns about the Midland Oval Development Masterplan (MORM) and council’s conduct.
“That perspective hasn’t changed to date,” he said.
“We now find ourselves with a bulldozer going through the oval.”
“I had my concern going back months towards the legality of what the City has undertaken, what the councillors as a group have decided in favour of.
“I don’t believe the city has, to this date, abided by the Local Government Act 1995, specifically section 3.59 of the Act, which requires a business plan to be presented to the community prior to purchases of land, prior to consultation, prior to feedback from the community and prior to signing any contracts that would have a bearing on the outcome of that consultation.”
He said he thought Monday night’s special electors’ meeting, to request the Council not build a road through the oval, would go ahead.
“I don’t think we as councillors are winning over the community by putting bulldozers through the middle of the oval,” he said.
“My job as a councillor is to represent the interests of the ratepayers, for Beechboro, Bennett Springs, Kiara, Lockridge, Dayton and Caversham, these are the suburbs that voted me in.
“This will have an impact on the rates we pay in the forthcoming years.
“I would like to think that the residents of the City of Swan in outlying areas will take a great interest in this, whether they are for it or against it.”
The City released a statement just after 11am on Thursday, June 14 in which Mayor David Lucas said construction of the New Junction development, an 11ha precinct in the heart of Midland, had started.
“The construction of the road may take four to five days, following this development at Lot 4, The Avenue, will progress.
“The City welcomes the next stage of New Junction, which is a vital part of ensuring we build a vibrant, strong and exciting Midland for the next generation of families.
“This transformational project will connect residential, commercial, entertainment and recreation spaces, and bring people together.
“This year marks 50 years since the project was first mooted and has been the subject of many years of community consultation, so it’s very important to see this exciting project move forward.
“Council voted on April 11, 2018 to instruct the City to proceed with these road works, as part of a resolution that also saw the public open space within the precinct increase to 2.3h.
“This is the second Council resolution approving the commencement of these works – the first being Council’s adoption of the Sale and Development Agreement of Lot 4, The Avenue in November 2015.
“The Joint Development Assessment Panel approved the construction of the proposed eight story building which will include apartments, shops and commercial suites on March 2, 2018 and the Western Australian Planning Commission approved the subdivision of the precinct on March 26, 2018.
“With all necessary approvals in place, it’s great to see work finally getting underway.”
More in Echo News on Saturday, June 16, or online later today.
By Claire Ottaviano