Park centre calls for council help

THE Fremantle Park Sport and Community Centre has stabilised financially after a $15,000 cash injection from Fremantle council, but wants it to take a more active role in managing the “community asset”.

Governing board deputy chair Brian Ciccotosto and board member John O’Brien told the Herald they’d restructured to cut costs when the centre’s full-time manager quit after realising his wages would probably send them broke.

A bar manager and part-time admin assistant were appointed to co-ordinate centre functions and venue hire, which had reduced the cost of wages.

Mr Ciccotosto said they’d also tapped into a “host of volunteers” to help out, but there were still costs involved with employing bar staff and looking after the grounds and they’d put in an application to the council for additional funding.

“We’re a community asset, and you look at what the arts centre and the pool get – it’s hundreds of thousands, and we want just a measly $50,000 to $100,000,” Mr Ciccotosto said.

Mr O’Brien said while the three clubs based at the centre were open to any type of assistance from the council, they believed a more hands-on approach was needed.

“The clubs are of the view that the City should take an active role in the management of the facility as many of the volunteers have limited time to devote to the centre,” Mr O’Brien said.

“One idea is the council take it over and they lease it, and we go back to how things were as three clubs.

“We were three clubs with over 100 years of history each, and we had this thing foisted on us.”

Mr O’Brien said the centre was actively looking to partner with other Fremantle-based organisations which could use the centre’s commercial kitchen, 200-capacity hall, tennis courts, bowling greens and licensed bar and alfresco areas. They’re also still on the hunt for sponsors.

He’s also keenly aware they’re sitting on a slowly ticking time-bomb, as under the MoU signed with the City, the clubs are responsible for replacing the bowling rinks and tennis courts after their expected 10-year lifespan. They also have to replace any plant and equipment in the centre.

“Ideally the centre would be transferring monies to a long-term sinking fund of some kind on an annual basis,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The centre has not generated enough revenue to establish such a fund.

“As the centre has now been operational for over three years this is a problem which will grow more serious with time.”


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