By Rebecca Peppiatt
Glen Forrest locals will soon get their much-anticipated basketball court after Shire of Mundaring councillors this week voted to bring forward plans to build one.
The issue has become controversial in recent months after council began work on a half court at Morgan John Morgan Park on Railway Parade, only to abandon the plan shortly after due to complaints from nearby neighbours who were concerned about the noise.
The decision to halt the already-set-in-motion plan was highly criticised by Glen Forrest residents who said young people in the town needed something other than the train park for recreation and are now left with a hard stand but no hoop.
In response, council voted to build a basketball half court at Burkinshaw Reserve, also known as Glen Forrest Oval, but works were not due to begin until late next year.
However, such was community frustration, council this week put forward a motion at Tuesday’s meeting to bring funding for the oval’s half court forward to this financial year, meaning work can begin on it sooner rather than later.
The motion was unanimously carried, despite some councillors voicing their frustration on the way the process had evolved.
“I’m torn with this one,” Cr Simon Cuthbert said.
“I find it frustrating we conduct extensive community consultation only to find ourselves in this position.
“The kick back is the root cause here.”
Cr Amy Collins said despite the controversy, the issue had “engaged the community again”.
“It’s activated the community,” she said.
“The new committee at the Glen Forrest Residents and Ratepayers Association are doing a great job.”
She also said the hard stand at Morgan John Morgan Park may eventually become a basketball court after all, if public opinion changed over time.
Glen Forrest Residents and Ratepayers Association (GFRRA) president Sharon Hill said she was happy with the outcome.
“We are pleased that the Shire and councillors supported the decision to expiate the construction of the basketball court to this year,” she said.
“It shows that they can be responsive to the needs of the community and have taken the results of the extensive community consultation undertaken into account.”
GFRRA vice president Jean Byrne echoed her sentiments.
“While not GFRRAs preferred option for location, placing the court at Burkinshaw Oval will allow for extension of the sporting facilities and will provide a wonderful opportunity for young people to engage there.”
Further development of Morgan John Morgan Park is still in process, with plans for a pump track still in the works.