FOOTBALL West has endorsed a plan to transform Ashfield Reserve into the home of soccer in WA.
In front of 600 guests at Saturday’s black-tie WA Football Awards, including State politicians John McGrath and Tony Buti, Football West chairman Liam Twigger confirmed Ashfield was the preferred location for a purpose-built State Football Centre.
He confirmed Football West had endorsed a business case to construct a $45 million facility and would now concentrate on securing the appropriate funding.
“We are currently in the process of negotiating and securing funding from both the State and Commonwealth governments to develop the much-needed facility, with football remaining the only major sport in Western Australia not to have a training and administrative facility,” Mr Twigger said.
The Eastern Reporter reported in May that Ashfield was being considered along with higher-profile sporting locations throughout the city, including the Western Suburbs and Burswood.
It is understood the $45 million redevelopment could include an artificial turf, two other playing fields and administration facilities, along with provision to keep public open space and fire-fighting training facilities.
Ashfield Sports Club president Bill Busby said the redevelopment would be an upgrade for the sport.
“I think the community will be engaged as far as I am told, which is important because it is community based and public open space needs to be retained as much as possible,” he said.
“Hopefully it works out for all sides of the trade because football is the last group, as basketball and everyone else has got their proper home… we are the last cab off the ranks so it is long overdue.
“I look forward to working with the participants and getting the best result we can for the Ashfield community and the Ashfield Sports Club.”
Town of Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said the Town welcomed the plan, as it would add to tourism in the area.
“It will be a significant redevelopment to the area of Ashfield, continuing that strong growth that we have seen to the Town’s commitment,” he said.
Cr Gangell said it was council’s requirement to retain a certain amount of public open space.
“It will still be accessible for residents to recreate on the reserve,” he said.
“Concerns will be addressed but to have that sort of investment come into the Town is a wonderful opportunity.”
Mr Twigger said Football West would use the facility to attract teams to Perth to take on the WA State team, including teams from Asia.
“We met recently with Premier Colin Barnett, who is supportive of the State Football Centre, and we hope to secure financial support from the Government in the very near future,” he said.
“Football West will work closely with local, State and Commonwealth governments, as well as other stakeholders, to ensure the best possible outcome for the sport and the Ashfield Reserve precinct.”
Football West chief executive James Curtis said building the facility at Ashfield would be a boost for the local community and Perth’s eastern corridor.
He cited the reserve’s easy accessibility, given its proximity to the Perth Stadium, Perth CBD, Tonkin and Roe Highways, the Perth Airport and the adjacent Ashfield Train Station, as advantageous for the players who would use it.