The City of Cockburn and Fremantle Hockey Club (FHC) will work with Hockey WA, the City of Gosnells and Southern River Hockey Club to lodge a joint National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) application to help finance the Hockey WA Facilities Project.
The Gosnells Council gave the green light to enter a partnership with Hockey WA and the City of Cockburn at the March 8 Gosnells Council meeting.
The total cost of the project in Huntingdale is more than $2.6 million. The City will seek $1.3 million from the NSRF. The club have to contribute more than $650,000 and the City will contribute the same amount.
Not only are there plans for a synthetic turf at Sutherlands Park, there are also plans for floodlights, fencing and irrigation and a power upgrade for the site.
The Southern River Hockey Club, who is based at Sutherlands Park, has to spend $25,000 a year hiring synthetic turfs – such as the pitch in Bentley for their top grade clubs to play.
Club president John Heath said it would be a major boost for the club in terms of retaining top players as the top players were always looking to play on turf.
“We lose a lot of top line juniors to other clubs who have turf, so it is actually retention of players,” he said.
Similar facilities are also being planned in South Lake to accommodate the Fremantle Hockey Club, and new facilities will also be built at Hockey WA’s base in Bentley, along with new change rooms and spectator areas.
Hockey WA president Peter Churack said there were hockey clubs which did not have the facilities in the south and eastern suburbs and could use Sutherlands Park.
“The sport itself is transitioning from grass to turf,” he said.
“When they get the turf facilities they will attract more – Melville Hockey Club doubled the size in four years after they got turf.”
Equestrian activities at Sutherlands Park were relocated to Orange Grove in 2014 and since then the Southern River Hockey Club has been lobbying the City for a new synthetic surface at Sutherlands Park.
Gosnells Mayor Olwen Searle said construction could start as early as May next year, if they were to secure funding.
“For a growing hockey club there is a need to provide quality infrastructure to retain a competitive edge,” she said.
“The synthetics will be available to other hockey clubs in the south-east corridor which, like Southern River Hockey Club, are currently travelling outside of the area for opportunities to use a synthetic surface.”
A decision is expected to be made around June, however the Federal Election could impact the decision.