At a meeting on Thursday, councillors rejected a recommendation to select Cockburn ARC as the preferred name, with more public consultation to be held in coming weeks.
A phone poll will now be used to decide between Cockburn ARC and Star (Sports Training Aquatic and Recreation) Centre Cockburn, a name suggested by councillor Stephen Pratt.
The council had hoped to have a name in place two months ago so its marketing team, working to a tight deadline with the facility set to be handed over by builders in March, could get to work creating a logo and brand style guide.
Architects expected to receive a style guide by May so they could integrate the chosen branding into the building and avoid retrofitting. But in February councillors agreed the process up until that point had failed to offer the community enough of a chance to have its say.
From that meeting a survey was developed, with Cockburn ARC (36 per cent) beating AVIVA Cockburn (22 per cent), Stadium Central (31 per cent) and Requa Cockburn (11 per cent) during a four-week naming competition that attracted more than 2100 votes.
In a report to councillors, Cockburn corporate communications manager Sam Seymour-Eyles said it was important the decision was not delayed further.
“(The) council has had a deal of community involvement in the naming process through focus groups and the recently completed survey,” she said.
“Reputational damage to the City could occur if the matter is again deferred for community consultation.”
But that is exactly what will happen afterCr Pratt’s bid for further consideration was backed by his colleagues.
“The four suggested names, in my opinion, are not easily recognisable and marketable to the public and do not highlight the special and unique qualities this facility will hold,” Cr Pratt said.
“The name Star Centre Cockburn, in my view, better meets the requirements and has the ability to attract new members and better reflects the aspirations that council hold for the facility.”
Ms Seymour-Eyles told the Gazette the decision to conduct a poll as part of the naming process would not delay handover of the new facility.
But in the report to councillors she stressed the importance of finally making a call.
“The builders advise that 93 per cent of the equipment and materials that they require have been ordered,” her report said.“A decision on the name will permit the immediate development of the style guide and provide an opportunity for the builder to order signs and colours that match the city’s requirements.”
Councillors, speaking both for and against Mr Pratt’s alternative, seemed unanimous in their opinion of the naming process so far.
“The very best that can be said about this process is the community is confused, so are officers and so are the councillors,” councillor Bart Houwen said.
Councillor Lyndsey Sweetman described the process as “flawed” while Kevin Allen said he was far from impressed with the four names put forward for the last consultation period.
The council will seek a quick turnaround on the phone poll before bringing the matter before a special council meeting.