Wanneroo hesitates on Yanchep site for pool

Most Wanneroo councillors were against locking the city into providing a pool in Yanchep by 2026. File picture

YANCHEP residents might be surprised to learn the City of Wanneroo has rejected a motion put forward by two North Coast ward councillors to commit to having a pool built in the area by 2026.

During the 2019 local government election the subject of a pool being built in Yanchep sparked a lot of interest when on October 17 in Yanchep developer offers land for swimming pool Yanchep Beach Joint Venture (YBJV) said it was willing to provide a peppercorn lease so the proposed northern corridor aquatic centre could be located in the Yanchep city centre.

Before this the Alkimos Regional Open Space was proposed to be the centre for elite sports facilities, including a 50m outside pool, to serve the northern corridor.

After a petition containing 4213 signatures was presented to the city on March 5, in Support for swimming pool in Butler electorate Mayor Tracey Roberts moved a motion, seconded by north coast ward councillor Nat Sangalli, that the council note the key findings of the north coast regional aquatic and recreation needs and feasibility study progress report.

The first key finding of the progress report was that with a forecast population of 162,000 in the northern coastal growth corridor it was likely at least two aquatic and recreation centres could be justified.

The feasibility report was instigated after the council resolved to consider building an indoor aquatic and recreation centre in the Yanchep-Alkimos area before the 2042-2046 timeframe proposed in the 2011 northern coastal growth corridor community facilities plan, which estimated the purchase of the land would be in the order of $26 million.

Prior to the local government election Mayor Tracey Roberts said her formal stance was to await the results of the feasibility study due in November.

Then at the city’s ordinary meeting on Monday, February 10 when speaking against an alternative motion ­to an officer’s recommendation Cr Roberts said the city understood the importance of the pool but she would not commit to a date at this point in time and would wait until a business case was finished.

The alternative motion ­to the original officer’s recommendation was moved by North Coast ward councillor Sonet Coetzee, who ran against Cr Roberts in the October election.

Cr Coetzee, whose alternative motion was seconded by fellow North Coast ward councillor Linda Aitken, said most residents were not be able to understand why planning for the pool was so far in the future.

The officer’s recommendation called on councillors to endorse the North Coast aquatic and recreation centre needs and feasibility study and to note the development of a detailed business case to consider the development of a proposed facility at Yanchep and/or Alkimos with the business case considering various 25m or 50m indoor pool options as per an attached draft scope.

The extensive debate about the aquatic centre involved most of the councillors and included Cr Roberts forcing North Coast ward councillor Chris Baker to withdraw a comment about the Alkimos proposal being $25m more expensive than the Yanchep proposal.

Cr Baker’s many questions led to chief executive officer Daniel Simms asking community and place director Debbie Terelinck whether the city had received a formal offer from YBJV.

Mrs Terelinck said the city had not received a formal proposal from YBJV.

The feasibility study said the lower the cost of the land, the more suitable the land was for development of an aquatic and recreation centre.

The study also said the state government had already acquired one site at Alkimos, which presumably would be gifted to the council at no cost and that it was not known what the cost of acquiring privately owned land in Alkimos or at Yanchep city centre would be.

In 2009, the YBJV provided a peppercorn lease to ensure that the police station was retained along Yanchep Beach Rd and said during the local government elections last year that if it was approached by the city and the mayor it would be happy to consider an arrangement similar to the police station for the delivery of the important piece of community social infrastructure.

Also on January 9 as reported in New health centre to provide services and jobs the McGowan Government said a new health centre, which should open in Yanchep in October 2022, would operate as a public-private partnership, with an in-kind land contribution provided by YBJV through a 99-year lease.