Freo may dock at Cockburn
The Dockers could soon decide to leave the confines of Fremantle Oval, which is also used as a public car park, for a new base in Cockburn. Pic: Lincoln Baker/WA News

Cockburn is firming as the favoured site for Fremantle's new training facility after the Dockers board agreed to do more research on the alternative site in the hope of establishing a preferred option by the end of September.

The club's official position is still that there needs to be a compelling case to shift from the club's spiritual home at Fremantle Oval.

But some at the club believe that the likelihood of greater government funding and the ability to establish a purpose-built facility from scratch at a potentially lower cost will create that compelling case.

Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett publicly pitched the Cockburn central west site - where the council had previously hoped the State Government would build a new major stadium - to the Dockers four weeks ago, declaring it a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

Dockers chief executive Steve Rosich confirmed this week that the Cockburn site offered the opportunity of developing a second training ground and a regional aquatic centre.

The club believes the greater the level of community facilities it can integrate into its project - worth between $30 million and $40 million - the greater the chances of drawing extensive government funding to help offset the cost.

The Dockers expect to have to find $17 million for the new project.

"A firm position is yet to be reached by the board," Rosich said.

"However the board has resolved that additional work is to be done on one of the alternative sites, that being the Cockburn central west site.

"That work will include assessing more formally, land access, land tenure and possible funding mechanisms to determine whether there is a compelling case for this site to be considered as a genuine alternative location."

The Dockers provided two sets of schematic drawings to _The West Australian _ yesterday, showing development options at both of the sites.

They have two separate plans for Fremantle Oval, one which includes South Fremantle as part of an integrated facility, and another that leaves the Bulldogs clubrooms as they are.

Rosich confirmed the cost of the two sites would come under strong focus.

"That is clearly a component that we are still working through," he said.

"The important measure is what is the net cost of these projects following contributions which are made by stakeholders to the project.

"Ultimately there will be a net difference and the business case for securing that net difference from external funders which is likely to include government will then be assessed."

He stressed that Fremantle would always retain a presence at Fremantle Oval, regardless of the board's final decision.

"It is our traditional home. We would look to work with the City of Fremantle to develop a plan if it got to that point," he said.

But he said the overall development options at the two sites were "materially different".

"The development plans that are in a preliminary draft form for both sites include provision for larger football administration facilities, indoor training centres and community recreation facilities, aquatic recovery facilities, multi-media centres and community meeting rooms and lecture theatres," he said.

"Possibly the Cockburn central west site could include two training ovals and a regional aquatic centre on a scale significantly different to what you could put on the Fremantle Oval precinct site."

The West Australian

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