COCKBURN city council has scored $4.5 million from the Turnbull government to breathe life back into a stalled sports facility at Visko Park in Yangebup.
The council will match the feds’ funding for the project, which includes relocating the Cockburn bowling club, new change rooms, fenced five-a-side soccer pitches and a beach volleyball sandpit built by late 2017.
A further $450,000 will come from private firm Area 5, which runs five-a-side soccer tournaments.
The project was supposed to have started in 2013 but was delayed, with many pointing the finger at the council having to raise more than $50 million for its share of the Dockers HQ and aquatic centre at Cockburn Central.
Mr Howlett says by moving the bowling club the council can build a new facility catering to a range of sports, which can also host regional events and functions.
Moving the club will also free up land adjacent to the council’s HQ in Spearwood for medium-density housing.
Club president Patrick McBride told the Herald club members had initially been reluctant to move, but they had “settled down”.
He says the council stands to make a tidy profit from the land sale, even after paying for the Visko facility.
West ward councillor Kevin Allen says Visko is an under-utilised park, which makes it ideal for the new facility.
When first announced, there was some backlash from residents worried about traffic and noise, but Cr Allen says subsequent surveys now show more than 80 per cent are supportive.
“The ground is low down, below a bank, so people won’t be affected by noise,” he says.
Area 5 director Bryan Raeburn says the project will help his company realise a long-held ambition to move into the southern suburbs.
“We’ve seen guys at Melville and Fremantle, but the City of Cockburn were the most accommodating,” Mr Raeburn told the Herald. “The others, they didn’t really look outside the square at what we were offering.”
by STEVE GRANT