Consideration of the City of Canning’s concept plan for a redeveloped Whaleback golf course has been deferred by Canning councillors, with financial concerns playing a major role.
In 2018, declining numbers and the need to replace aging infrastructure led the City to develop the Whaleback Master Plan 2018, and following an extensive user consultation period a report, entitled More Than Golf, was used to guide the development of a concept plan.
On March 15, councillors were asked to endorse the Whaleback Concept Plan to enable the City to engage the market to ascertain the potential for private investment, inform key terms of a future management contract, and seek submissions based on the Concept Plan.
Major elements of the concept plan include new, integrated club rooms, pro shop and a café/bar, mini golf, an all-abilities district level playground, a community hall, four tennis courts and two multi-purpose courts, a living stream, a practice/putting zone and a significant increase to car parking space that will heavily incorporates trees into the design.
If developed in four stages, the cost to the operator will be $13.829 million, with the council handing over $12.798 million.
The price for the potential operator does not change over three stages, however the City’s contribution drops to $12.654 million.
However, Mayor Patrick Hall put forward an alternate motion to defer the item to the September council meeting and ask the Chief Executive to facilitate a workshop to discuss the feedback contained in the More Than Golf report.
Mr Hall said it was a significant decision, telling councillors he believed more time was needed to consider the concept plan.
“This is also an extraordinary investment by this council at a time when we probably can least afford it and I think perhaps it would be best for council to reconsider its position once we have had the opportunity to have a further workshop on the matter and discuss it fully and frankly between us with the executive,” he said.
Councillor Jesse Jacobs said the City’s funds “probably weren’t there anyway”, and that a possible change in executive – a possibility that became a reality with the appointment of new Chief Executive Michael Littleton last week – may need time to get their head around the plan.
The Mayor’s motion was carried 10-0.