Bayswater Council last night adopted an amendment to its budget 2018/19 giving the City four months to seek the $3.2 million required to refurbish the Maylands Waterland facility from Federal and State governments, and the private sector.
Mayor Dan Bull said his amendment would allow the City some time to seek alternate funding options.
"During budget discussions it became obvious that we couldn't afford our planned refurbishment to Maylands Waterland.
"I think we owe it to the community to explore all funding options available to us.
"Maylands Waterland was originally funded by the Federal government back in the 1970s so it is not out of the question that they would fund the refurbishment.
"I have put a four month time limit on our efforts to seek funding as I don't think it would be fair to the community to draw out this issue any longer.
"As part of the City's Advocacy Strategy the CEO and I will be preparing a funding proposal to take to both Federal and State governments, and the private sector. In October we will report back to Council on the funding approaches we have made.
"If we are unsuccessful in obtaining funding, we will revert back to our original proposal that will see the redevelopment of Maylands Waterland into a destinational playground that could include water play elements.
"This proposal was considered in the context of this year's budget discussions.
"This project would be funded by $1.5 million set aside for the development of the City's public open space. The proposal was raised as part of confidential budget discussions that began in October last year.
"In June 2017 Council agreed to spend $3.2 million to bring Maylands Waterland up to current standards. During budget discussions it became obvious we can't afford that. "Under the new proposal Maylands Waterland would become a destinational playground with potential water play elements that would remain open all year round and be free.
"Currently Maylands Waterland is open for only five months of the year, it is a user pays facility and runs at a loss of around $200,000 a year.
"The proposal to tap into existing $1.5 million of public open space funding is contingent upon the new facility remaining free to the public and open all year around. We believe the concept of a destinational playground that could include water play elements fits this criteria. It would also mean we are eligible to apply for grant funding from organisations such as Lotterywest.
"Since June the City progressed with an Expression of Interest process in an effort to find a suitable vendor to operate a kiosk at Maylands Waterland but no responses were received. This was disappointing.
"Council took a serious look at the financial viability of the project in the context of the budget as whole in October.
"The truth is we simply couldn't afford a $3.2 million upgrade to Maylands Waterland. It would mean increasing rates by at least 7 percent. I could not in good conscience agree to that sort of increase.
"Here in the City 90 percent of our rates revenue comes from residential properties and as such the rates burden is carried mostly by residents who are already feeling the pressure from increases in the cost of utilities.
"I make no excuses for the fact that this is a frugal budget. This is not a budget filled with ‘big ticket’ new projects. Given the current economic conditions our decision to remain a debt free Council, and not to raid reserves is deliberate.
"Given the proposal was at no cost to the community it was certainly an option worth considering. Ironically Maylands Waterland is actually the only new project in this year's budget.
"Maylands Waterland will open in November for the season.