Labor vows to keep oval

Labor vows to keep oval

Bill Johnston with Ferndale residents shaking on the policy announcement.

The Labor Party will scrap the Housing Authority’s plans for the old Ferndale Primary School oval site if elected at the March state election.

Labor member for Cannington Bill Johnston made the announcement at the oval in front of Ferndale residents last week.

The future of the oval has been a contentious issue for residents and the nearby Fountain College with both wanting the oval retained as public open space.

The Housing Authority, who owns the land, plans to build 13 single and five grouped dwellings on the site.

Mr Johnston said it was not a suitable site for a large number of housing units because Ferndale did not have a train line.

“Everyone who lives there would end up driving a car, the Labor party is certainly not opposed to infill development but that’s not a suitable site for it,” he said.

“We’ll gift the land to the City of Canning as public open space. “We’re going to bring it to a conclusion because its been going on for eight years which is clearly too long.”

Ferndale Residents Association president Margaret Adams welcomed the announcement.

“The residents were thrilled to hear a positive move to secure this vital area for the neighbourhood,” she said.

“The Housing Authority quotes 13 single and five grouped dwellings – how many homes does that constitute?

“Still there is not a definitive number or plan for the neighbourhood to pass public comment on.

“No one ever approached the residents in Wisteria Way prior to the school closure and sale.”

A spokesman for Housing Minister Brendan Grylls disagreed the oval wasn’t the right spot for a development.

He said housing developments and infill development opportunities in well-serviced areas – such as this one – were in line with the planning commission’s Directions 2031 planning framework.

“The Ferndale Primary School site is an ideal location for a medium density, affordable residential development,” he said

He said the 508 bus connected the suburb to the Bull Creek and Cannington train stations and the area already had large community recreation spaces.

Housing Authority general manger commercial operations Nigel Hindmarsh queried comments from Fountain College last week that they would have purchased the oval if given the opportunity.

“During the negotiations, Housing offered additional land to allow for school playing fields and hard courts,” he said.

“The college declined the offer, advising they had received approval from the City of Canning to utilise the ovals in Blancoa Way (a five minute walk) or would bus the students to other playing fields.”