Locals win out as school bid rejected

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Group of local residents opposed to Bethel School taking ownership of the park during School hours.
Camera IconGroup of local residents opposed to Bethel School taking ownership of the park during School hours. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Access to Yakamia’s Worra Park will remain unrestricted after half of local residents surveyed by the City of Albany rejected exclusive use of the park by the Bethel Christian School.

In September, ratepayers in proximity to Worra Park received a joint survey in the mail from the City and the school to gather information on their use of the park and feedback on a “possible alternative future” for the site.

The letter indicated the school intended to relocate the park’s playground, retain native vegetation “where possible” and develop sporting grounds for exclusive school use during school hours

Today, the City has released its findings, stating 25 per cent of respondents used Worra Park daily and 22 per cent weekly, while only 8 per cent had never been there.

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City of Albany executive director of infrastructure, development and environment Paul Camins said the feedback showed Worra Park was a much-loved community space.

“It’s a really good result for us as we now know more about what the community like about the park, how they enjoy it and want to see it used, and that will help us manage it better into the future,” he said.

“The feedback shows that Worra Park is highly valued for its remnant bushland and birdlife, its quiet location, and as a place to go for a walk with the dog.

“Because of this, the City and Bethel Christian School have agreed not to progress any agreement for the school to exclusively use the park during school hours.”

Manager of City reserves Jacqui Freeman said the community’s responses would help with planning to enhance the park and provide other features such as seating.

“It’s really great to learn that our public spaces are so well loved and well used. This makes the effort and costs of maintaining the park worthwhile and should translate into some really good outcomes,” she said.

“We’re very keen to work with the local community and the school to undertake some bushcare work around the park’s bushland and will be contacting the survey respondents and others for help and to invite them to learn new skills.”

Bethel Christian School declined to comment.

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