Oval plan pledge

EAST FREMANTLE council would get $150,000 to help it create a new plan for East Fremantle Oval under a returned Barnett government.

Planning minister Donna Faragher and Bicton candidate Matt Taylor announced the cash for a feasibility study this week during a visit to the oval.

Mr Taylor grew up in Staton Road, not far from the oval, and remembers getting bits of cardboard to slide down the sand piled up behind an old shed that once stood beside the grandstand.

It’s long gone and been replaced by the oval’s grassy banks, but he reckons that’s about the only thing that’s changed there in 50 years and the oval needs an upgrade.

“The feasibility study can build on the previous planning,” Mr Taylor said.

“I have been talking to the East Fremantle Football Club and the community about their ideas for a long time and everyone wants to ensure we take full advantage of the opportunities down here.”

• Liberal Bicton candidate Matt Taylor with planning minister Donna Faragher and East Fremantle Sharks CEO Todd Shimmon. Photo by Steve Grant

• Liberal Bicton candidate Matt Taylor with planning minister Donna Faragher and East Fremantle Sharks CEO Todd Shimmon. Photo by Steve Grant

Ms Faragher pointed to the redevelopment of Claremont Oval, which included a housing component, as a model of what could be achieved.

East Freo oval is currently leased out to the Sharks, but CEO Todd Shimmon says they’re looking at making room for about three to five other sports to move in as their administration and league games head towards Fremantle Oval.

He says they’ll always have a presence in East Fremantle because Freo oval’s grass couldn’t cope with the pressure of three league levels and the women’s competition.

Mr Shimmon says they haven’t had discussions with other clubs, but says there’s scope for an indoor netball facility, lawn bowls or cricket.

Under the redevelopment he’d like to see change rooms that cater for women, saying many players simply head home for a shower, while there’s been discussions about a commercial gym.

He’d also like to see a retail component, but says the oval’s A-Class classification may make that difficult, as may opposition from some locals.

by STEVE GRANT

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