PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has delivered Willetton Basketball Stadium the result they wanted.
A $5.5 million Federal Government funding win was confirmed during a stop-by of the courts on Saturday morning from Tangney MHR Ben Morton and Assistant Minister for Cities Hon Angus Taylor to give fresh hope to the stadium expansion project.
Willetton Basketball Association (WBA) wants to construct an extra four courts and virtually double the size of the current stadium, with space also for change rooms, 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 that 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 next round of Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF) grants.
WBA has applied for $2.25 million from the CSRFF, which is more than the $2 million permitted maximum but considerably 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.
Early morning games at Willetton on Saturday were slightly delayed to allow for the Federal funding announcement, which was made by Mr Taylor in front of hundreds of junior basketballers, club devotees and a host of dignitaries, including Mr Morton, Riverton MLA Mike Nahan and City of Canning councillors.
A thrilled Mr Morton, who has long campaigned for the Federal money, said more courts would allow 150 kids on a waiting list an opportunity to play at Willetton.
Mr Nahan urged the State Government to lock in the final funding piece.
“One of the biggest disappointments in looking at the State Election result was not being able to follow through with my commitments, such as the expansion of the stadium,” he said.
“With over 3500 members, the association currently relies on satellite courts and needs to play games late into the night due to their current capacity issues.”