The West

Wanangkura Stadium closed!
Wanangkura Stadium closed!

Just four days after it opened, Port Hedland’s $34.1 million recreation centre has been closed indefinitely because of fire risk.

Premier Colin Barnett cut the ribbon to open Wanangkura Stadium on Sunday before the Perth Wildcats played Cairns Taipans in a sold-out exhibition game.

But last night, Port Hedland acting mayor George Daccache said it would close indefinitely as the council looked for solutions to the centre’s problems.

“The temporary closing of the building is in the best interest of the community,” he said.

“The limitations of the water and fire capacity on site mean that in the event of fire we may not have the resources to manage it, potentially putting the safety of staff and users of the stadium at risk.”

He said community health and safety was the council’s highest priority and it would make sure the issue was addressed fully.

The centre had a troubled opening week, which included Disability Services Minister Helen Morton raising issue with access for patrons in wheelchairs.

Ms Morton said she asked the director-general of the Disability Services Commission to investigate whether the council met the requirements of the disability access inclusion plan in the centre.

Wanangkura Stadium was funded by Royalties for Regions and mining giant BHP Billiton, which contributed $15 million.

On Sunday, the Premier said the centre was the first of its kind in Port Hedland and set the bar for future community facilities in the Pilbara.

“This is a spectacular piece of architecture that will become a landmark for Hedland,” he said.

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