NIAMH GUY AND BEN LOMBARDO
A new peace park with special access for elderly people has been proposed for the northern Perth suburb of Kingsley.
Joondalup council received the proposal from Kingsley resident Brian Cooper, and the Kingsley and Greenwood Residents Association, for a commemorative peace park to be erected in Kingsley Park on Lot 971. The plan was put to council on April 18.
Mr Cooper said elderly residents of Kingsley and surrounding suburbs were finding it harder to attend services elsewhere in Perth on remembrance days, and the peace park could offer a local, more accessible alternative.
He said the aim would be to provide an area of “tranquility and quiet contemplation”.
The peace park would give locals new footpaths and benches, and have five commemorative plinths. It would also connect the adjacent car park at Kingsley Tavern to the footpath at Kingsley Park, allowing easier access.
The plan put to the council did not outline the structure of paths or how they would offer elderly residents further accessibility to the peace park. The council has requested this to be outlined in a revised proposal.
The planned plinths would be dedicated to wars and conflicts that Australia and her allies have been involved with since the Boer War in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
President of the Kingsley and Greenwood Residents Association , Sonia Makoare, said a local, more accessible memorial was needed.
“With so many retiree complexes around the Kingsley area, having something closer to Joondalup or than Kings Park would be ideal,” Ms Makoare said.
Greenwood College Principal Ian Johnston said the peace park would benefit elderly locals, and encourage younger students to reflect and take responsibility for the area.
“I have previously witnessed from one of my past schools the students looking after a war memorial in Kings Park,” Mr Johnston said.
“These students took a mature and dedicated attitude to this memorial which grew into a delightful annual tribute.
“For a memorial to be sustained, the younger generations need to become involved.”
Mr Johnston said that due to the lack of time remaining to learn from older ex-servicemen and women, action must be taken immediately.
However, the peace park has raised the ire of some local residents.
Member of the Madeley, Kingsley, Woodvale & Surrounds Residents Facebook group Kim Gherardi said the peace park was unnecessary and many residents had already fought hard to protect the natural area and wildlife it supports.
“I have a big issue with this if it in any way disturbs the wildlife and flora that exists there,” Ms Gherardi said.
“I’m also concerned that it provides a hidden area, right behind the Kingsley Tavern, for undesirable behaviour.
“I believe there are many places in the surrounding suburbs where the elderly can easily access Anzac services”.
However, Ms Makoare said there had never been any evidence of undesirable behaviour to wildlife and flora in the past.
“I don’t understand how five plinths in the ground, which most people will just walk past, will cause a disturbance,” she said.
The council acknowledged at the April 18 council meeting that the wider community had not yet been consulted about the peace park. In a report to city councillors ahead of the meeting, council officer Garry Hunt advised that a wider community consultation outside of Kingsley, Greenwood and Woodvale would be needed.