Cougars fight for space

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Belinda Cipri­ano

COCK­BURN Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion gen­eral man­ager Ty­rone Th­waites says any de­fer­ral on the devel­op­ment of the Western Sub­urbs Sport­ing Precinct will be putting thou­sands of Cock­burn res­i­dents on the “back foot”.

The City of Cock­burn has com­pleted a draft study that iden­ti­fies op­por­tu­ni­ties for the devel­op­ment of new ac­tive open space and the re­de­vel­op­ment of fa­cil­i­ties and re­serves such as Wally Ha­gan Sta­dium and Dixon Park.

The over­all costs to im­ple­ment the up­grades are es­ti­mated be­tween $45.71 mil­lion and $64.65 mil­lion, de­pend­ing on which devel­op­ment op­tion is cho­sen.

The City’s com­mu­nity sur­vey on the draft study closes on Fri­day.

Mr Th­waites said the as­so­ci­a­tion, lo­cated at Dixon Park Re­serve and the largest stake­holder in the process, was cry­ing out for up­dated fa­cil­i­ties in a grow­ing industry.

“Cock­burn Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion has been lo­cated at Dixon Park Re­serve since the mid 1970s, with Wally Ha­gan Sta­dium now at the stage where main­te­nance costs are sky rock­et­ing due to its age,” he said.

“Cou­pled with the ex­po­nen­tial growth of the as­so­ci­a­tion that is lim­ited to just four courts, there are 2000-plus com­mu­nity mem­bers that are des­per­ate for more space that we will even­tu­ally run out of.

“Any de­fer­ral to the ex­ist­ing time­line would be putting out the largest stake­holder in the en­tire process: the Cock­burn Cougars fam­ily.

“With the growth of bas­ket­ball na­tion­wide, the Cougars fam­ily is grow­ing to the point where the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­ity will soon be no longer able to cater for ev­ery sin­gle mem­ber.

“Fund­ing is also heav­ily de­pen­dent on the ex­ist­ing time­line, and with any de­fer­ral, there is a large risk the project is scaled right back.”

Mr Th­waites’ plea came af­ter read­ing a let­ter pub­lished in the Gazette from eight com­mu­nity groups ex­press­ing their con­cern about the City’s sup­port for the devel­op­ment of Dixon Re­serve into an in­te­grated sport and recre­ation hub be­fore the com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod had closed and prior to con­sul­ta­tion with stake­hold­ers.

“There is no win­ner in the Cock­burn com­mu­nity if that (de­fer­ral) hap­pens,” he said.

“A lot of com­mu­nity groups are mak­ing noise about this site, and we ac­cept it is com­plex.

“But we are in the very early stages of a well-run con­sul­ta­tive process by the City of Cock­burn and any de­fer­ral would be putting out Cock­burn res­i­dents and we risk los­ing them to other as­so­ci­a­tions.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d485729

No time to waste: Ty­rone Th­waites.

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