THE Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority is forging ahead with plans to sell Tuohy Gardens, despite opposition from City of Swan councillors who want the land gifted back to the City.
The issue has been ongoing since June when councillor Ian Johnson first floated the idea of reopening the closed-off reserve as open green space.
The land is under the ownership of the MRA and had been for the last 18 years, and despite being earmarked for development for that entire time, the land has remained fenced off and undeveloped.
An initial inquiry from the City about the land was met with a strong response from the MRA, who said that if the City wanted the land back, they would have to pay market price.
Guildford resident Catherine With has a stronger connection to Tuohy Park than most, with her great uncle donating the land known as Tuohy Park to the Midland Junction Council.
“The family was Methodist and the Methodist ethos was to contribute, so they gifted this land to the council and I do feel a connection with it,” she said.
“I desperately need something green here so you feel like you’re coming to a welcoming place.”
She believes that any development on the land will run the risk of reinforcing a perception the Midland area has worked hard to shrug off.
“I can imagine this becoming slumish,” she said.
“It’ll continue to have the label that it had for many years, that it’s very working class but it’s more than that, it has energy and I love living here and a development on this land will just be wrong.
“It’s not fair to tell the City that if they want it back they can pay market price.
“I mean as far as a development goes, where is the parking? Where are people going to go?
“I think the community needs to get together to oppose this.”
Cr Johnson maintains the land should be gifted back to the City and has urged the community to get behind the push.
“The real question is why are they selling it now after they boarded it up 18 years ago?
“I think people need to write to the MRA and Rita Saffioti and urge them to give this back.”
For her part, the Planning Minister said she had been advised the land remains an MRA asset, with the lots to be released to the market in the near future.
In July the MRA advised Echo News the lots would be released in August, however an MRA spokeswoman said that has now been pushed back and the lots are anticipated to be released to sale before December.