City of Canning approves $2.2 million loan for Willetton Basketball Stadium expansion

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WILLETTON Basketball Stadium’s long-awaited expansion is a step closer to the construction phase after the City of Canning approved a $2.2 million construction working loan for the Willetton Basketball Association (WBA).

The loan will ensure the basketball association can pay its bills and continue to trade without the risk of insolvency during construction.

Council approved the loan and reiterated its commitment to the project at a special meeting on Tuesday.

WBA had previously secured $5.5 million in Federal funding, $1.5m from the State Government and $2.2m from the City of Canning towards the cost of their $11m stadium expansion.

The City will provide a short-term loan to cover the gaps between when the WBA has to pay for works, and when it receives its government grants.

The grant monies are then used to repay the short-term loan, and anything owing under the short-term loan arrangement after all grant monies are paid will be rolled over into a long-term loan.

Any loan funding provided by the City to WBA will be at net nil cost to the City, as WBA will be paying all costs associated with establishing the loan.

A council report stated the City would risk enticing WBA into a position of insolvency if it allowed them to commence the project without any loan facility or additional third party funding in place.

Councillor Lindsay Holland supported the decision and said the stadium would bring “thousands upon thousands upon thousands” of people into the area.

He was backed by councillor Ben Kunze, who said he was glad the long-awaited expansion was finally going ahead.

Councillor Jesse Jacobs said the upgrade was overdue and he had high confidence in the club and the organisation to deliver a fitting addition to the City.

The loan was approved nine votes to two, with councillors Graham Barry and Tim Porter voting against it.

Council also pledged almost three quarters of a million dollars to undertake additional public works in conjunction with the proposed stadium expansion.

They allocated an additional $733,000 for ancillary works next door at Burrendah Park, including modifications to fire service, drainage and parking requirements.

One of the requirements, a fire vehicle access way, will be constructed on one of Willetton Bowling Club’s greens.

In return, the bowls club has accepted the council’s offer of a $260,000 grant and a loan of up to $260,000 to convert the remaining greens into a synthetic surface green.

The stadium expansion will provide four new indoor basketball and multi-sport courts, seating for spectators and the refurbishment of the existing courts and hall.

The project will also include plans for three meeting rooms, a function room, an expanded administration area and a new kiosk and forecourt area.

The stadium expansion is set to be part of the City’s Willetton Precinct Master Plan and construction is expected to start before the end of the year. It will be completed before March 2020.