The State Government handed over a $10 million cheque for multi-user facilities in Cockburn anchored by the Fremantle Dockers but was forced to play down its assistance to the successful AFL club amid questions over priorities.
A day after slugging householders, motorists, businesses and first homebuyers in the State Budget, Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan insisted the contribution was for community aspects of the development, not the club.
The City of Cockburn will shoulder the bulk of the cost of the $106 million regional physical activity and education centre, which will double as a training and administration base for the Dockers.
The Commonwealth Government has kicked in $10 million and the State today contributed $10 million to go with a $2.4 million sport and recreation grant already allocated.
The State also provided the land off Poletti Road.
Dr Nahan said the community sporting facilities were the reason it attracted public funding while the West Coast Eagles’ request for $20 million for a training base at Lathlain Park was not granted. He urged West Coast to come up with a new proposal and try again next year.
Dockers chief executive Steve Rosich said the club intended to “maintain a presence at Fremantle Oval”, its original home which many supporters did not want it to leave.
“There has been ongoing work, and that will continue, to look at what is the future of Fremantle Oval and we would certainly like to increase the community interaction and vibrancy of that site and there are many ideas that we are exploring and can now take to the next level,” he said.
Dr Nahan it was the community aspects of the project which attracted public funding.
“We are providing services to the community aspects of this (Cockburn) facility,” Dr Nahan said.
“The Eagles did not have a community aspect to their facility. One of the reasons being Cannington, nearby, has a brand new leisure-plex which we contributed to.
“If they (Eagles) want to build the facility, go ahead, but maybe if they come back with another proposal we would consider it. As an Eagles supporter I would like them to come back and think about it.”
The Cockburn facility, which will include a 52m pool, 25m pool, water slide and crèche as well as high-performance training areas, is in the detailed design phase and a builder is expected to be appointed by the end of the year.