Pavil­ion saga just not sport

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

The on­go­ing saga sur­round­ing a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar sport­ing com­plex is set to con­tinue with Bun­bury City Coun­cil re­tain­ing man­age­ment fol­low­ing failed at­tempts to get a club to take over.

The Hay Park South Multi Sports Pavil­ion has a marred history with a lease agree­ment be­tween the South West Phoenix Soc­cer and South West War­riors Rugby League clubs an­nulled just two months after the im­pres­sive fa­cil­ity was opened in July 2016.

The more than $4.6 mil­lion com­plex was funded through $2.8 mil­lion from Roy­al­ties for Re­gions, $335,000 from the Depart­ment of Sport and Recre­ation and more than $1.5 mil­lion from the coun­cil.

The coun­cil for­mally re­sumed man­age­ment of the fa­cil­ity in Fe­bru­ary 2017 for a two-year pe­riod dur­ing which ne­go­ti­a­tions started in an ef­fort to find a suit­able user.

But the coun­cil is next week ex­pected to re­tain man­age­ment fol­low­ing the failed at­tempts.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cers have been in reg­u­lar con­tact with the rel­e­vant par­ties in at­tempts to progress the sit­u­a­tion,” the coun­cil has been told in a re­port.

“On­go­ing at­tempts have been made by of­fi­cers to ar­range meet­ings, dis­cuss op­tions, source in­for­ma­tion and progress ne­go­ti­a­tions – th­ese ef­forts have been on­go­ing for sev­eral years and have stalled on numer­ous oc­ca­sions due to a lack of re­sponse.

“It is felt that given the last at­tempts to make con­tact . . . fur­ther ef­forts by of­fi­cers to ne­go­ti­ate an over­ar­ch­ing lease ar­range­ment will be fu­tile at this time.”

The coun­cil has been rec­om­mended to re­tain man­age­ment and de­velop sea­sonal hire agree­ments.

Mayor Gary Bren­nan said the fa­cil­ity’s “sad history” was dis­ap­point­ing.

“From the time the build­ing was com­pleted there was a high de­gree of op­ti­mism and strong com­mit­ment,” Mr Bren­nan said.

“I’m hop­ing that into the fu­ture there may be a time when sport­ing clubs who use those fa­cil­i­ties can reach an agree­ment to set up a body, which takes over the man­age­ment and costs of run­ning and main­tain­ing that mag­nif­i­cent fa­cil­ity.

“The coun­cil has re­cently en­dorsed a ten­der for in­stal­la­tion of lights, so fur­ther light­ing of those south­ern play­ing fields will oc­cur.

“It’s be­com­ing quite a high stan­dard fa­cil­ity – play­ing fields and the ac­tual sta­dium – so I think in the fu­ture there will be a strong in­ter­est by sport­ing clubs, but the jour­ney so far has been quite chal­leng­ing.”

The sit­u­a­tion sur­round­ing the Hay Park South Multi Sports Pavil­ion should be get­ting the nec­es­sary amount of at­ten­tion. It is a sad in­dict­ment on the city’s proud sport­ing history that this multi-mil­lion-dol­lar fa­cil­ity is not be­ing used to its full po­ten­tial.

Many sport­ing clubs are burst­ing at the seams with play­ers and call­ing for up­graded fa­cil­i­ties to ac­com­mo­date grow­ing num­bers – the Bun­bury Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s re­quests for more courts is one ex­am­ple of this.

The marred history of the more than $4.5 mil­lion Hay Park pavil­ion would be dis­heart­en­ing to those clubs.

Bun­bury City Coun­cil of­fi­cers ap­pear to have done all they can over the past two years and should be com­mended for that.

While it would un­der­stand­ably be a drain­ing ex­er­cise, the of­fi­cers need to press on to en­sure a more ap­pro­pri­ate and suc­cess­ful so­lu­tion is found for this im­pres­sive fa­cil­ity.

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