Mayor confident about water park in Bunbury

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

The Department of Lands will consider leasing a prime piece of Bunbury foreshore to Bunbury City Council for the long-awaited water playground.

Behind closed doors on Tuesday night, the council endorsed chief executive officer Andrew Brien to start negotiations with the department over Crown land at Sykes Foreshore near the Koombana Bay Caravan Park.

Plans for the fiercely debated playground have previously stalled after funding knock-backs from State and Federal governments.

But the council remained persistent with its plans and approached the caravan park to take the lead on the project.

Mayor Gary Brennan revealed to the South Western Times that the park’s owners had indicated an interest in the playground, but there was a lot of work still to be done.

Mr Brennan said he was “more confident than not” the water playground would eventually become a reality.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Mr Brennan said.

“The timeline I don’t know, 2018-19 seems a realistic goal – I don’t think 2017-18, but who knows.”

He said a number of issues still needed to be discussed, including how the playground would be paid for and who would contribute to the cost.

The council has $1 million set aside for the project, which has previously been estimated to cost $7.3 million.

“That’s a matter we need to look at – the city has a $1 million loan set aside, but it’s something we still need to go through,” Mr Brennan said.

Ruling out a commercial owner would affect access, Mr Brennan remained adamant the playground would be open to the public.

“We’ll ensure the public has access to the playground, it won’t be visitors only,” he said.

Mr Brien will now start negotiations with the department over the land, but with the State Government in caretaker mode this week it could be at least three months before the matter comes back to the council.

More than $440,000 has already been spent on concept designs for the playground, which was originally earmarked for the Pat Usher Foreshore.

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