New Leighton Beach facilities opened today
May 6, 2016 11 Comments
It was great to have the Premier down to cut the ribbon on the new Leighton Beach facilities today. They look fantastic.
Here are some snaps from the morning. Below the photos is the speech I gave too.
I’d like to welcome everyone to the official opening of what I know will become a much-loved new facility here at Leighton Beach.
- I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land on which we gather today.
- A special welcome to:
- Western Australia Premier Hon. Colin Barnett
- City of Fremantle elected members and staff
- Community groups and contractors involved in this project:
- Fremantle Surf Lifesaving Group
- Disabled Surfers Association WA
- Barry Brennan from the Poseidon Surf Riders
- Artists David Brophy, Penny Bovell and Margaret Dillon
- Project architects Bernard Seeber
- Contractors including CPD Group, Landscape Australia and Total Eden
- Bib and Tucker who have provided catering for today’s event and Grey Means Well for providing tea and coffee
- Members of the local community
Leighton Beach is one of Perth’s most popular beach areas with good reason.With its favourable conditions for swimming, surfing, water sports and walks along the beach, it has always been a hotspot for North Fremantle residents and beach lovers from all over Perth.
It is also the only metropolitan beach within short walking distance to a train station, making it well connected to other coastal hotspots including Cottesloe and of course, Fremantle.
In recent years, as its popularity continued to grow, so did the need for sensitively redeveloping the Leighton beachfront area into an improved community recreation space. And so the Leighton Oceanside Parklands masterplan was born and in 2010, the reserve area was redeveloped with picnic areas, barbecues, cycle paths and extensive landscaping.
Since this time, Leighton Beach is now home to more residents, new cafes, local surf and swim clubs and soon to come – a hotel development. In 2014, the City of Fremantle began a $1.3m upgrade of the 50 year old Leighton Beach changeroom and kiosk facilities to continue this beachfront transformation.
Two years later, the new community facilities are fully accessible with new toilets, family changerooms, waterwise showers and taps, LED lighting, additional bicycle racks, footpaths and ramp access to the beach. The new kiosk café space is set to open in July, with the surrounding seating available not just to the café patrons, but to all beach visitors including convenient access for wheelchairs.
Over 100 native species have been planted as part of the upgrade including Rottnest tea trees, coastal daisy bush and grey saltbush, with volunteer groups set to continue their great dune rehabilitation work with City officers to preserve this coastal landscape.
The facility design was inspired by the natural beach environment and includes public art works honouring the surfing history of the area. Many of you would remember the iconic orange surfers’ wall painted on the old facilities which was removed to build the new changerooms. In the mid-1970s, this wall was a popular meeting spot for the Poseidon Surf Riders, a casual surfing group who became an integral part of Leighton Beach’s surfing culture. Despite the need for new accessible facilities, it was important these surfing memories were preserved. I’d like to thank one of the Poseidon Surf Riders, Barry Brennan, for sharing his photos with us to create the public artworks you see today, including the club’s original logo which was taken from an old sticker on a biscuit tin. The images not only tell the club’s story of mateship and camaraderie but also the story of Leighton Beach.
These artworks have been created under the mantle of the City of Fremantle’s Percent for Art Policy. The artworks have been created by Western Australian artists David Brophy (the work on the wallk) and Penny Bovell in collaboration with Margaret Dillon (the paving artwork). The Poseidon Surf Riders were a group who surfed the Leighton break from the mid-70s to the early 80’s. They were an informal group, that met at this site, which used to be a carpark. They would shelter from the wind, catching the sun on the wall of the old Leighton Change rooms. When the change rooms were going to be demolished Barry Brennan, a key member of the Poseidon Surf Riders came to the City to discuss acknowledging the surf culture around Leighton. It was agreed an artwork was the best way to bring these memories into the future for people to understand the significance of this beach.
David Brophy was commissioned to create the wall artwork. It is a visual interpretation of the barrel of a wave. Penny Bovell has beautifully integrated seminal images of Poseidon Surf riders, provided by Barry Brennan into the paving design here. The images tell a story of the mateship and camaraderie around the club. The logo inscribed in the concrete was used by the group at the time.
I am proud to see this piece of history integrated into these new facilities which can be enjoyed by the growing number of local residents, café visitors and tourists who have discovered the beauty of Leighton Beach. I’d now like to invite the Premier to officially open the facilities.