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City of Swan deputy mayor Kevin Bailey and mayor David Lucas speak to Echo News.

Oval vision on display at Pegasus Park

OPINION

“Do you want to go for a drive? I’ve got something I want to show you.”

City of Swan mayor David Lucas said those words a couple of minutes into what was meant to be a sit-down interview with himself and deputy mayor Kevin Bailey.

The latest motion regarding the Midland Oval Redevelopment had passed last week, and I thought it would be important to find out what happens next, so I arranged for a chat at Boardroom Café, outside the restrictive settings of the media desk at an ordinary meeting of council.

I didn’t expect to go for a drive, I figured I’d be out of the office for half-an-hour, tops.

A ten-minute drive later, we arrived at Pegasus Park. It’s in the Iluna Private Estate in Bennett Springs, and at quarter-past two on an ordinary Tuesday – albeit during school holidays – the playground was packed with kids and parents.

None of those parents and kids live in the Estate – the display homes haven’t been finished yet, let alone any real family homes – but still the park was packed.

It’s been a consistent argument that you’ve heard from the opposition to the Midland Oval Redevelopment and you’ve read on banners.

Where will the children play?

If the number of children playing at Pegasus Park is any indication, in a few years they’ll be playing at the redeveloped Midland Oval.

In a relatively small space, the park has facilities for cricket, basketball, tennis and netball, with trampolines, slides and sun-decks for the parents.

There’s even a smart-bench, a solar-powered bench you can charge portable devices on via USB connections.

Pegasus Park in Bennet Springs.

It’s the sort of thing you just don’t see in Midland, and it’s exactly what the mayor wants to bring to the Midland Oval.

“If we can activate a space before people go an live in an area, it will be an attractor for people to want to live and recreate in that area, and that’s an important thing.

“Playgrounds have changed and this isn’t meant to be a sports oval, it’s meant to be a place where people can take their children and have fun.

“With more residents coming into the Midland CBD, if we don’t have the right, appropriate level of activation for a range of children as well as adults, it’s pointless,” Cr Lucas said.

The deputy mayor chimed in.

“It has to be an attractor for people outside the development to come into the CBD and use that as their space where they can go about their normal business, they can shop and have meals, and they can still have that safe environment and the kids can still play, a whole active space rather than the traditional go down to the end of the street to a park with a green open space with hardly anyone in it.

“This is an active space that can be activated on a 24/7 basis.”

If you’re not buying the vision Cr Lucas is selling, maybe Jaleesa Dearle could convince you.

She came down from Brabham to play at Pegasus Park with her niece Ebbie.

“We came down here to play sport, there’s lot of facilities, it’s fantasic.

“We bought a tennis racquet, a basketball and we can use it all here, Ebbie enjoys it and yeah, I think it’s a place you’d travel to.”

Daniel Degois, down at the park with his wife and kids, agreed with Ms Dearle.

“I’m from Beechboro, but we drove here from Mindarie, we’ve been out today looking at a few places for the kids to play and we saw this and thought we’d give it a go.

“The kids are really enjoying it, it’s great.”

“We’re always trying to find new places for the kids to play and if they had something like this in Midland, yeah that’s pretty close, we’d go down there.”

Cr Lucas knows he won’t be able to convince everyone, that there are people who won’t accept Midland Oval as anything but green open space.

At the end of the day, the sports that used to have their homes on Midland Oval – the sports that used to fight over when they could train and play – have all relocated to better facilities.

The mayor is convinced that with facilities like Pegasus Park, with a vision that will bring people into the area, the Midland Oval redevelopment can succeed.

You might be tempted to write this article off as a propaganda piece, but I have no skin in the game, no vested interest. I just know what I like, and if the City can indeed replicate what I was shown at Pegasus Park on a bigger scale in the open space at the redeveloped oval, that success will be that much closer.

About Liam Ducey

Liam Ducey is an experienced journalist, having worked in print media in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Port Hedland, Bunbury and across the metropolitan area, as well as online for several Fairfax Media mastheads. His reporting has seen him awarded the 2013 Clubs WA award for Best Club Media Story and the Western Australian Football Commission Umpiring Media Award in 2014. He was a finalist in three categories in the 2018 WA Media Awards and is not at all salty that he didn't win at least one. He's recently had a baby girl, Emilia, with his wife Roselyn and has lost all concept of time and sleep.

3 comments

  1. The people are not asking for a sports oval, stop misrepresenting the facts.

    Is Lucas suggesting kids should be brought to Pegasus from Midland to play?

    Lucas, Bailey and the others are completely missing the point or they have their eyes and ears closed to the community. The latter I believe.

    It is a propaganda piece and you fell for it Liam, did you ask why the sports had to move away to better facilities.

    You should now offer the same opportunity to the Save Midland Oval founder.

    • Gary E I don’t think the Mayor is suggesting kids go from Midland to play at Pegasus park. Perhaps its about community going out and taking a look.

      How is this propaganda? The sports moved away to purpose built facilities, that’s all documented in the minutes Gary, at a cost to ratepayers of $100+million! They were moved because they were growing and one oval couldn’t deal with all the requirements of the different sports.

      The changes to the Midland Oval development have now increased the open space even more, at a cost (please check the business plan) of $45+million.

      The predecessor gave the ‘founder’ of Save Midland Oval more than his share of air time (are you the founder ??Gary?? ;))! I certainly don’t need to hear it anymore.

      • The area of Pegasus is 8479SQM, what is the area of the proposed GREEN POS in MORM?

        Everyone knows the sports moved away, and why.

        Figures are airy fairy because as Foley has stated, the end result is unknown. Maybe you should have a good look at the figures, do some analysis and ask some questions.

        What “predecessor” are you on about?

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