Ball in State court for sta­dium plans

Canning Times - - NEWS - Matt Zis

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will de­liver $5.5 mil­lion fund­ing to­wards the Wil­let­ton Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium re­de­vel­op­ment, giv­ing fresh hope to the sta­dium ex­pan­sion project.

As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for Cities An­gus Tay­lor made the an­nounce­ment on Satur­day morn­ing in front of hun­dreds of young bas­ket­ballers, club devo­tees and a host of dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing Tangney MHR Ben Mor­ton, River­ton MLA Mike Na­han and City of Can­ning coun­cil­lors.

Wil­let­ton Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion wants to con­struct an ex­tra four courts and vir­tu­ally dou­ble the size of the cur­rent sta­dium, with space for chang­e­rooms, meet­ing rooms, of­fices and sup­port­ing health ser­vices.

WBA pres­i­dent Phil Nixon de­scribed the Fed­eral money as a “sig­nif­i­cant step” to­wards re­al­i­sa­tion of the $11 mil­lion project, which is now more than 80 per cent funded.

With a City of Can­ning fund­ing com­mit­ment hav­ing been tied to the now-se­cured Fed­eral sup­port, the bas­ket­ballers are hope­ful the State Gov­ern­ment can de­liver the re­main­ing dol­lars through its Com­mu­nity Sport­ing and Re­cre­ation Fa­cil­i­ties Fund grants.

The WBA has ap­plied for $2.25 mil­lion from the CSRFF, more than the $2 mil­lion per­mit­ted max­i­mum but much less than the one-third share of a project nor­mally re­quested of the State Gov­ern­ment.

“Our hopes are well-placed that they will be able to see their way through to do this,” Mr Nixon said.

Tangney MHR Ben Mor­ton, who has long cam­paigned for the Fed­eral money, said more courts would give 150 chil­dren on a wait­ing list an op­por­tu­nity to play at Wil­let­ton.

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