RAAFA seeks land swap to shift public open space

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The public open space containing King Neptune is now owned by the state of Western Australia, which should allay residents’ fears the statue could be destroyed. Picture: Anita McInnes

FOR some weeks Two Rocks residents have been asking questions about the implications for the King Neptune statue if some of the public open space associated with the proposed Woolworths and RAAFA developments is re-located.

On May 13 a spokesman for Lands Minister John Carey said the public open space (the land containing the King Neptune statue and a portion of land around it) was currently unallocated crown land owned by the state of Western Australia and currently managed by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage – with the Heritage Council committed to assessing the Sun City precinct as a matter of priority.

As the land is now state-owned concerns that some residents have about the possibility of the King Neptune statue being destroyed can probably be put to rest.

But what is happening particularly in relation to the possible re-location of some of the public open space is still unclear.

In July last year RAAFA said it was administering the public open space, which included King Neptune and that the area would be returned to the City of Wanneroo in due course.

But on Thursday, May 19 RAAFA chief executive officer John Murray confirmed they want to have public open space near the Lisford Ave and Sovereign Dr intersection.

Mr Murray said discussions between RAAFA and the City of Wanneroo regarding the transfer of the public open space were currently underway and they expected to finalise the transfer in coming weeks.

On Thursday evening Michael Bower from Blueport Development Management said the northern area of land (the proposed new public open space) was not included in the 1.04ha public open space, which Fini Group had ceded to the Crown.

Mr Bower said the original 1.04ha public open space was now owned by the state of Western Australia and was to be developed by RAAFA as public open space and managed by the City of Wanneroo.

RAAFA now wants to have public open space near the Lisford Ave and Sovereign Dr intersection.

“Fini Group have constructed the entry road to the town centre, cleared and prepared the 1.04ha public open space site ready for completion,’’ he said.

On Monday the City of Wanneroo confirmed the 1.041ha public open space area had been ceded by the Fini Group to the state of Western Australia and the city had formalised a replacement deed of agreement with RAAFA.

“On 15 June 2018, a replacement deed of agreement was formalised between the city and the RAAFA which included a $399,999.60 security bond for ensuring the completion of the public open space landscape works,’’ a spokeswoman said.

But she said the city had not received or accepted a request for the management order of the public open space area and it was currently unallocated Crown land.

Mr Bower said the 1.04ha public open space had been determined by a two-year public planning process, culminating in approval by elected members at the council in 2018.

“The land has been transferred to the state of Western Australia, with public open space obligations protected by easement and now under the management of the City of Wanneroo,’’ he said.

“We are keen to see the city deliver the public open space as per the easement and approved 2018, LDP No 1 in the earliest possible timeframe.

“The entry road is now complete and it would be great to see the vacant sand pad transformed into a family friendly 1ha public open space with sweeping views from (Charnwood Park) to the King Neptune statue.’’

He said the King Neptune statue was not being demolished but would be protected and celebrated within the public open space.

“We are looking forward to the prompt completion of the King Neptune 1.04ha public open space and completion of the entry to the town centre.

“Any proposal for additional public open space in the north east corner of the town centre would be well received by the community and all stakeholders.’’