WACA pays $3.6m to end project debacle
What might have been: How the WACA redevelopment might have looked. Illustration: Supplied

The WA Cricket Association has paid $3.6 million to Ascot Capital to settle its failed ground redevelopment and end the biggest financial debacle in its 129-year history.

And the WACA acknowledged that it could be further out of pocket, with Ascot entitled to receive a portion of future ground sales as part of the original joint venture agreement.

"But that won't happen in my lifetime," Ascot director David van der Walt said.

The Ascot payment means the WACA has borne the entire failure of the ambitious proposal to secure its financial future by building apartment towers.

But the association holds $15 million in cash and is due to get significant compensation for the loss of its Test match this summer.

Alan Rule, chairman of the WACA's finance committee, confirmed the Ascot payment.

Mr Rule said it would be revealed in the annual financial statements to be released next month.

"The WACA terminated the agreement with Ascot and reimbursed them the $3.6 million they had contributed to the project," he said.

"There is no ex gratia payment involved but simply a reimbursement of costs.

"Ascot still has the potential to receive a payment of 8 per cent of the uplift in property value if we sell any of the commercial land."

Under the agreement with Ascot, the property developer would take a profit had the project come to fruition but would be compensated should it fail.

It was this agreement that prompted chairman-elect George Jones to quit the board last year, claiming the Ascot deal was not in the best interests of the WACA and its members.

"The agreement with Ascot is the issue and I hope WACA members ask a lot of questions about it," Mr Jones said at the time.

WA cricket great Dennis Lillee, who last night nominated for a sixth two-year term as WACA president, introduced Ascot to the association and was one of the key forces in keeping the relationship alive.

He said last night that he was disappointed that the redevelopment did not proceed but recognised the payment to Ascot was inevitable.

Last year's WACA annual report revealed that the association held term deposits of $14.4 million.

It also revealed the continuing risk to the WACA over the Ascot deal.

Mr van der Walt, who said the WACA had acted honourably by fulfilling its obligations to Ascot without dispute, believed it was premature to abandon the project.

"It was a mistake not to continue with the development," he said.

The West Australian

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