Ferndale oval fight

Ferndale oval fight

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Ferndale Residents Association president Margaret Adams wants to retain the old Ferndale Primary School oval as public open space. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

Ferndale residents are renewing calls for the State Government to back down from plans to turn the old Ferndale Primary School oval into high-density housing.

Ferndale Residents Association president Margaret Adams said the oval should be retained for the community and Fountain College, which now occupies the old Ferndale school site.

Ferndale Primary was closed in 2009 and the site has since been split into three different parcels.

Fountain College took over the school site, the native bushland facing Karri Way was zoned public open space and the Housing Authority acquired the oval for residential developments.

The oval was rezoned residential density R30 in September 2014, which means homes with a minimum lot size of 260-square metres can be built there – about 25 houses.

Most of the rest of the suburb is zoned R20, which means a minimum lot size of 350-square metres.

Ms Adams has been fighting the development since it was first announced and said the oval could be put to better use if it was given to the college and community.

“It’s always been a community oval even though it was owned by the school it has always been allowed to be used by anybody,” she said.

“There’s such a shortage in the area of training facilities, it could be used for teeball or football. The school will have to build a gymnasium if the oval isn’t there.”

She said squeezing in that many more houses would also be havoc for local roads.

“All 25 houses would come out onto Wisteria Way, I don’t even think the road has 25 houses on it now,” she said.

“Ferndale isn’t an easy suburb to get to, you can’t get a bus for two hours and 40 minutes during the day so you’re trapped in the suburb if you don’t have a car.

“It means an extra 50 cars a day, you’ve got to look at all sides and it’s not fair for peoples’ lifestyles to be disrupted.”

Member for Cannington Bill Johnston said it was essential to keep the oval for casual open space for the local residents.

“You’ve got blocks of land owned by the Housing Authority like the one next to the Cannington train station, which I want them to develop, they won’t even come up with a master plan and yet you have this tiny postage stamp in Ferndale and they spend all their money trying to develop that site,” he said.

A City of Canning spokeswoman did not say what the city would like to see done with the site but said the authority had the right to develop it.

“The fact that an educational use has been maintained on the site and around 7000-square metres of bushland is to be retained in perpetuity as public open space, representing 18 per cent of the site, were good outcomes associated with the proposal,” she said.

“As the old school oval is owned freehold (by the Housing Authority) and zoned residential the (authority) has the legal ability to subdivide and develop this portion of land for residential development.”

She said Ferndale was well provided for in terms of public open space, which was 8.43-hectares per 1000 head of population.

The Housing Authority and Fountain College were contacted for comment.