Competition fears over new centre

City of Cockburn councillor Bart Houwen with Oceanic Waterbabies owner Bob Dunn. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d400204
City of Cockburn councillor Bart Houwen with Oceanic Waterbabies owner Bob Dunn. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d400204

Cockburn councillor Bart Houwen said that while he was confident the new facility would be a boost for the City if it was delivered and maintained on budget, some local businesses would be in direct competition with the facility once it was operating.

‘I have no doubt that the proponents of this project are well intentioned, however the opportunistic nature of developing this project in a very short timeframe means the potential for unintended consequences are higher than normal and local business and community should be fully aware of that fact,’ he said.

‘It is up to existing businesses to make the City aware of any possible negative impacts through duplication of services.’

Oceanic Waterbabies owner Bob Dunn, who operates a hydrotherapy centre purpose-built for infant swimming lessons just four kilometres from Cockburn Central, said he would not be able to compete with the proposed centre’s subsidised prices.

‘I definitely have no issue with what they’re doing. I think they should provide the facilities, but how will we compete with their prices?’ he said.

City of Cockburn finance director Stuart Downing said he was confident the new facility would not affect local businesses, pointing to the success of the South Lake Leisure Centre, the demand for hydrotherapy pool services in Cockburn and the City’s increasing population.

‘The City intends to review any submissions and address the concerns of any small business owner,’ he said.