AS debate rages over Premier Mark McGowan’s hard-line stance on border closures, the City of Swan is slowly beginning the process of relaxing restrictions and re-opening City facilities.
Last Tuesday, Local Government Minister David Templeman urged local governments to take a leadership role during the easing of restrictions, calling on local governments to re-open libraries and other local government facilities, move back to conducting council meetings with the public attending where possible, and re-open sport and recreation facilities where practicable.
“The sector has already done an enormous amount of good work to help communities and businesses during the first phase but now, as we start to come out the other end, we need local governments to reopen sport and community recreation centres and other facilities where it is safe and practicable to do so,” Mr Templeman said.
“In particular, I would like to see all libraries open in line with the health requirements.
“Libraries are extremely important community assets and play an important role in education, skills development and social cohesion.”
In line with these recommendations, Ballajura, Beechboro and Midland Libraries re-opened their doors on Monday, with strict social-distancing procedures in place, including a hand-sanitisation station at the entrance to the libraries and a 72-hour quarantine of returned books.
One of the first through the doors at Midland Library was Hazelmere resident Lee Evans.
A regular user of the library before COVID-19 struck, Ms Evans said she was looking forward to the sense of normalcy the library would provide.
“I was a bit worried about how everyone would be, if there would be a lot of fear and panic, but the measures they’ve put in place I think are working,” she said.
“This was unprecedented.
“I think the social distancing measures they’ve put in place are really effective…if you’re going to get it you’re going to get it, but they’re taking the precautions, they’ve done well on short notice I think.
“I’m thankful they’ve even opened it, they didn’t need to.”
However if you were keen to attend a City of Swan council meeting in person, you will have to wait, with chief executive Mike Foley confirming they could not open meetings to the public without breaching social distancing guidelines.
“At this stage we won’t be re-opening Council Meetings to the public as we are not able to meet social distancing requirements, however meetings continue to be live streamed and the public can still submit written deputations and questions,” he said.
“The City welcomes the Premier’s announcement to commence reopening facilities and reintroduce community fitness and recreation, and we are pleased to welcome our community back.
“Our decision to reopen our facilities is directly informed by the State Government’s second phase of its four-phase roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions.”
Swan Active centres started taking online bookings for group fitness and personal training sessions on Monday, with those sessions commencing on Monday May 25.
Ellenbrook and Bullsbrook libraries will also open on May 25, however Guildford library will remain operating through the City’s online Click and Collect service until the next stage of restrictions are lifted.
Pools are expected to reopen on June 2