IT was the news the management at Willetton Basketball had been waiting for, a political commitment to the upgrade of its Burrendah Reserve facilities.
Last Friday Premier Colin Barnett, flanked by Riverton MLA Mike Nahan and Tangney MP Ben Morton pledged a re-elected Liberal government would grant $3.5 million to the Willetton Tigers.
Club chairman Phil Nixon said it was a welcome commitment after relentless political lobbying for the club, which reached out to local, state and federal officials in the hopes of securing funding to boost the thriving clubs facilities– which are at capacity, with a list of hopeful players topping 150.
“We are so happy to be standing here today and hearing this news,” he said.
“It feels like we are getting somewhere and although there is a way to go in terms of fundraising we have been recognised and it is great.”
Mr Barnett said the money, which would add to $800,000 already fundraised by the club and ideally would eventually be topped up by a further $3.5 million in federal funding would help build four courts, change rooms and a physiotherapy room.
“This project will get hundreds more kids playing team sport each week,” he said.
“It will increase capacity for local school and holiday programs, expand cultural community programs and help resolve poor health and obesity in young people.”
The funding will enable the club to double its stadium from four indoor courts to eight and build expanded infrastructure including change rooms, meeting rooms, a hall, offices and space for supporting health services such as physiotherapists.
Dr Nahan echoed the Premiers sentiments, and praised the club for its standing within the community and commitment to becoming the best in the State.
He said it was a pleasure to see the money come, after working so closely with the club during his time as a local member.
He said it was something the community was enthusiastically and passionately committed to.
“We hear a lot about drugs and crime in the community but there are hundreds of kids in this electorate who want to play weekly team sport, but can’t because of a lack of infrastructure,” Dr Nahan said.
“Knowing this project has a significant Liberal government commitment will be a big boost to the local community who have been working so hard to make it happen.”
Mr Morton is also working to secure Federal funding for the project.
The Willetton Basketball Association has more than 300 teams, 3500 players and 1000 volunteers