Journalist Enquiry: Sarah Brookes, Seven West Media
Please attribute the following comments from City of South Perth Mayor Greg Milner.
How much funding do you need for the RAF project, what funding have you secured for the project so far, what avenues are you investigating for funding and how much has the City put in?
The proposed Recreation and Aquatic Facility is based on a project cost of $80 million. The City has secured up to $44 million confirmed funding to date - $20 million from the Federal Government and $20 million has been committed by Council. SportWest has committed $1 million and Curtin University has committed $2-3 million for capital expenditure. The City is working towards securing the remaining funding.
Now council has signed off on the business plan you can approach the State Government for funding (correct?). Have you had any discussions with the SG thus far on funding the project? What are the next stages for the project once funding is secured?
Council approved the Business Plan at a Special Council Meeting on 15 March 2021. The City is now able to commence formal discussions with the State Government and other potential funding partners.
Once funding is secured, approval for the project budget and scope will be required by Council. The project will then enter Stage 3 – Detailed Design. Subsequent stages include tendering, awarding of contracts and construction.
When do you hope to start construction for the RAF and when is it hoped it will be open to the public?
At this stage, and subject to Council approval, construction will commence in August 2022 with an anticipated opening date of August 2024.
Why is there a strong demand for such a facility? i.e. are current facilities no longer fit for purpose, is there an expected increase in City’s population in coming decades.
The City has completed a number of studies and polls/surveys to assess sport and recreation needs over the past 17 years. A consistent theme has been a high level of demand for aquatic facilities, indoor sports courts and a gymnasium.
There are no public swimming pools in the City of South Perth and the City's only indoor recreation facility, George Burnett Leisure Centre, comprises one under-sized sports court which is below industry standard for provision of indoor sports and recreation.
The minimum requirement for indoor sports such as basketball and netball in an area the size of the City of South Perth is three to eight courts.
Perth’s population is expected to grow from 2 million to 3.5 million by 2050, with significant growth forecast for the metropolitan area.
The population of the RAF catchment area (City of South Perth, Town of Victoria Park, City of Canning and Curtin University) is forecast to grow by 33% by 2041.
This is a once-in-generation infrastructure project for the City, do you anticipate rates will need to increase to help pay for the project? How will the City fund its portion of the funding for the project?
All community consultation regarding this project has been conducted on the understanding that there will be no additional costs to ratepayers. Council’s endorsement of the RAF Business Case and commitment of $20 million in November 2020 was expressly based on the assumption that the RAF will be financially self-sustaining.
The integration of a number of business units in the proposed operating model including golf, gym, indoor courts with food and beverage and retail as well as the aquatics side will ensure the financial viability of the RAF.
There are several options available as to how the City’s contribution can be funded and this will be a decision for Council at a future stage of the project and in the context of the annual budget.
The RAF will be a world class health, wellness, fitness, recreation and education facility centrally located at Collier Park Golf Course in the City of South Perth.
Traditional swimming pools, a hydrotherapy pool and sports courts will be combined with research and education programs to provide a hub for integrated learning and the delivery of primary health care and prevention in the community.
The RAF will play a crucial role in sport development through the provision of a Community House, proposed to be managed by SportWest, providing shared accommodation for state sporting associations, peak swimming and aquatic bodies, key education bodies and other community groups, who are traditionally under resourced.
The Collier Park Golf will be retained with traditional 27 hole course facilities including shorter form golf. The area adjacent to the existing club house will be remodeled to provide a double storey technology based driving range and an improved short game practice area. It will also include the mini-golf facility that is currently under development.
This is an exciting infrastructure project that will benefit not just the current population but generations to come.
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