ALTHOUGH it’s had to fork out $1.5 million to prise the Dockers out of Fremantle Oval, mayor Brad Pettitt says the deal’s turned out to be a money-saver for the council.
Earlier this week the Dockers’ board agreed to the deal, which will see the council take over the head lease, paying the club $1.5m in instalments over three years. Council staff can now move into the Dockers’ clubrooms during the two-year redevelopment of Kings Square.
“We were not keen to pay anything or put ratepayers out of money, but we found a sweet spot where we needed accommodation for staff during the Kings Square project,” Dr Pettitt said.
“We’ll save ratepayers about $1.5 million, because we budgeted for relocation costs at about $3 million in the CBD. From memory I think the original budget was for $5 million because we were looking at a staged move.
Dr Pettitt said the council had also secured a commitment for the Dockers women’s team to play home games at the oval, which will be redeveloped once negotiations between East Fremantle and South Fremantle footy clubs over co-location have been finalised.
The deal is also a face-saver for the Dockers, as it avoids the embarrassment of making the council pay for clubrooms many have argued the club only got because of the latter’s generous support.
Dockers CEO Steve Rosich said while the club’s no longer in Fremantle, the port city would still be its “spiritual home”.
“We’ve had great support over the years from the City of Fremantle and the local community and we’re totally committed to maintaining a presence in Fremantle to honour that, which includes specific events and a merchandise store,” Mr Rosich said.
Dr Pettitt says the council will probably also have to buy a donger off the Dockers to fit all its staff at the oval.
“It’ll be cosy,” he quipped.
As part of the deal, the council will also contribute $200,000 to help St Pat’s relocate 32 homeless men who’d been put up at the old Stan Reilly aged care facility on a temporary basis.
by STEVE GRANT