$5m top-up gets oval plan back on track

Local government minister David Templeman announces the $5m top-up in his inimitable style with Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley. Photo supplied.

THE McGowan government has put another $5 million into the East Fremantle Oval redevelopment after rising construction costs threatened to send the council back to the drawing board.

The council had already scaled back the original design and reduced the footprint of a community facility to be shared by the oval’s sporting groups by more than 1000sqm, but the cost had still jumped from $26.5m to 32.5m.

Sport and recreation minister David Templeman announced the additional funding, saying it brought the state government’s total commitment to $25m.

“The State Government remains committed to seeing the East Fremantle Oval redevelopment through to its full potential,” Mr Templeman said.

“Unfortunately, the significant rise in construction costs is being felt right across WA’s building and construction industry and this project is no exemption. 

“Providing local sporting clubs and the community with access to state-of-the-art facilities and a vibrant community hub is the key objective and I am pleased the state can continue to support the delivery of this important project.” 

East Fremantle mayor Jim O’Neill told the Herald that without the extra $5m, the council may have had to scrap plans to co-locate the sporting clubs in the new facility.

“I think it’s good for the croquet and bowling clubs; they are the social fabric and the history of the town and they’ve been there for 100 years so it’s good to give them a secure tenure,” Mr O’Neill said.

More cohesive

Mr O’Neill said despite having to trim the project, the council was still pleased with the outcome as it actually created a slightly more cohesive design with a green belt now connecting the oval to the croquet courts and community garden.

He expects construction to start in the next couple of months and for the project to be completed early in 2024.

Mr O’Neill thanked Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley for helping the council secure both the original 

$20m funding and the top-up from the state government, saying her input had been invaluable.

Ms O’Malley said she was glad both parties had been able to keep the project on track.

“This is fantastic news for the local community and I am so pleased that the McGowan government has been able to step in and fund they increase,” she said.

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