Update, 4.50pm: The battle over where Fremantle will have its new training and administration base has hit overdrive with Cockburn City Council releasing details of its proposed $100 million sporting facility which is now tipped to be the favourite to host the Dockers.
Cockburn moved this afternoon to counter Fremantle Council’s own $100 million proposal which aims to carry out an extensive renovation of historic Fremantle Oval to incorporate the new Dockers training base and some University of Notre Dame facilities. That proposal was released earlier this week.
Both moves come as a Dockers protest group, calling themselves the “Keep Freo in Freo” campaign and backed by local newspaper the Fremantle Herald, planned to hand out posters urging the club not to leave its spiritual home.
Supporters will be asked to wave the posters at the club’s match against Melbourne on Saturday night.
The Cockburn plan, for what is known as the city’s Central West site which the council had initially used in its bid to woo the state government for a major stadium, will include an aquatic and community recreation facility but also has provision to house the Dockers if they decide to move there.
The facility, walking distance from the Cockburn Rail station, would include gymnasiums, hydrotherapy pools, an aquatic water playground, group fitness studios, cycling “spin” rooms, retail and café spaces a creche and at least one football oval and is likely to cost between $70m and $100 million depending on Fremantle’s final decision.
Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett said the council had made no secret of its bid to woo Fremantle and the University of Notre Dame.
“These facilities will meet a range of community needs, but it would be a game changer to have the Dockers and a tertiary education provider integrated into the development,” he said.
“Wrapping the Dockers requirements into this project would achieve benefits for the City and the Fremantle Football Club, allowing each of us to share costs and have a true multi user facility and provide a great impact for the community. It would create many new jobs in the recreation complex and the education component would give students the opportunity to ‘learn and earn’ at the same time.”
“This community facility has being planned for some time which means the City is financially well-placed to make this project happen. The City has a strong track record of delivering sporting and recreation facilities to its community and has been able to do this without putting a financial burden on ratepayers.”
Fremantle chairman Steve Harris acknowledged the “Keep Freo in Freo” group’s right to air their views at this weekend’s game.
“We understand that members and supporters feel passionately about this ongoing debate,” he said.
“The club has always seen this as a difficult decision but one it has to make at some stage in the near future. We continue to build information so we can make the best decision in the best interests of the football club in the long term.”