In a recent flyer authorised by former councillor John Dowson, Hilton Ward candidate Catherine Hammond states her opposition to the supposed sale of Samson Park and Samson Recreation Centre. On her Facebook page she suggests houses might be built over the park.
At the risk of stating the obvious, there is not and never has been a proposal that the City of Fremantle sell Samson Park, and it’s not possible anyway.
The park is crown land vested in the City as a public reserve and registered as a State Bush Forever site. I believe its status can only be changed by an act of parliament.
Raising a scare campaign about something that is simply not on the cards is really reckless. I don't know if it's a breach of the electoral act, but it's dishonest and irresponsible.
What about the Samson Recreation Centre?
The City’s ten year budget does propose that the council consider selling some or part of the land that the Rec Centre sits on in order to pay for significant upgrades to the Leisure Centre at Shuffrey St.
However no decision has been made and this is very unlikely to happen any time soon. The land in question has a conditional title on it which means it can only be used for community purposes. Changing this would require state government approval. I expect that the new ten year budget will drop the idea.
The Rec Centre is heavily used by people playing badminton, table tennis, volley ball and other activities. However it’s more of regional sporting facility rather than a local community hub. Only 18% of the users are residents of the City of Fremantle.
It’s a real pity that when the Rec Centre was built it didn’t include the rooms and facilities needed for a proper community centre.
If one day the state government agrees to fund a new replacement regional sporting facility somewhere else in the Fremantle region, then there might be a case for disposing of the current site to raise funds, providing some of the land is set aside for a decent Samson community centre.
The City is investigating the possibility of relocating the Mighty Munchkins pre-kindy program to a bigger building on Rennie Crescent in Hilton. If that happens then it would free up the annex next to the Rec Centre for general community activities.
While this building is quite small it would give us something. The Meeting Place and Arts Centre might be able to extend some of their programs to Samson and it could also accommodate some community initiated activities.