Willetton Basketball Stadium on track as City finalises funding

Willetton Basketball Stadium. Photo: Ben Smith.
Willetton Basketball Stadium. Photo: Ben Smith.

THE City of Canning has finalised its funding for their input towards the Willetton Basketball Stadium upgrade.

Council approved a $2.2 million grant for Willetton Basketball Association’s (WBA) development at a special council meeting on April 4.

The City will also loan the WBA up to $3 million to cover cash flow deficits during construction, which the organisation will repay over the next 10 years.

Council will take out a loan with the WA Treasury Corporation for the $ 2.2 million grant.

In order to obtain the $3 million to cover the construction costs, the City has changed its liquidity facility, a financial reserve used to safeguard against debt, with the WA Treasury Corporation.

The facility was earmarked for the Canning City Centre Project, but will now be used in part to cover the basketball stadium project.

At the special council meeting, councillor Graham Barry argued the City should take out a loan of $3 million, rather than change the purpose of the liquidity facility, to ensure transparency with the ratepayers.

However, executive business manager Steven Leeson said the local government act provided them with the option to use the money from the liquidity facility for the stadium, as long as it gave one month’s public notice.

Canning environment director Warren Bow said the City opted for the liquidity facility because the WBA required up to, not exactly, $3 million during construction and the association would be responsible for any interest accrued on a loan.

Cr Barry’s amendment was lost 8-2 and the funding was approved 9-1 afterwards, with Cr Barry the only one to vote against the loans.

Upgrades running on time

WBA chief executive Mark Winnett said the stadium extension was progressing on schedule and they were on course to meet their February 2020 deadline.

Work began on the project in January and has resulted in reduced parking and office space, however it has not prevented the Willetton Tigers from hosting State Basketball League games.

Mr Winnett said construction had ramped up in recent weeks and the stadium was expected to be completed by next January.

“The underground service has been completed and stormwater and electrical service has been identified and located,” he said.

“It’s full on around the site, with the erection of slabs and building of the new hall set to commence.”

Mr Winnett confirmed the Tigers’ upstairs bar had been temporarily closed by the works, while a temporary entrance had been constructed on the stadium’s north-west corner, facing Willetton Bowling Club.