PROPOSED upgrades at Beldon Park will not go ahead.
Joondalup councillors at Tuesday’s meeting voted 12-1 not to proceed with the upgrades that would allow Beldon Park to meet National Premier Leagues WA (NPL WA) standards and give Joondalup United Football Club a home ground after 17 years.
City officers recommended against the upgrades, with the cost of works estimated between $4.67 million and $4.9 million.
A council document also said it was “evident from the community reaction, particularly from those living within the suburb of Beldon, that the community believes the proposal… would lead to a significant change in amenity”.
In December, the council earmarked Beldon Park as a preferred home ground for Joondalup United and requested a report on possible upgrades and for community consultation.
Consultation ran from January 23 to February 13, with 576 responses received from the community as well as responses from Joondalup United, Beldon Primary School, Beldon Shopping Centre and the Department of Education.
About 41 per cent of the respondents were from residents living in Beldon, with about 82 per cent opposed to a second soccer field, 77 per cent opposed to floodlighting at competition standard and 62 per cent opposed at training standard.
About 88 per cent opposed fencing around all sides of one field, 75 per cent opposed limestone retaining for seating and 47 per cent did not support a redevelopment of the existing toilets and change rooms.
The council also received a 742-signature petition at its February meeting opposing the redevelopment.
At the meeting, residents again expressed concerns of losing access to the “only oval in Beldon”, the effect it would have on school activities and increased traffic.
Beldon Residents Association secretary Nicky Dangar also requested the City set up online access to a booking system so residents could see when the facilities would be available.
Councillor Liam Gobbert said while he supported the officers’ recommendation not to proceed with the upgrades, he was “disappointed” with the recommendation that requested the chief executive to “continue to liaise with Joondalup United in finding a solution for it to be able to host both its NPL WA and community-based fixtures”.
He said it was a “limbo position” for the City, whose role was to “assist community groups”.
“I guess all we can do is to see what happens, what comes back,” he said.
“I think we’ve done a lot of research to date to see how, when, where, why we could accommodate Joondalup United.”
Others speaking for the officers’ recommendation included Crs Mike Norman, Russell Poliwka, Philippa Taylor, John Chester, Russ Fishwick and Mayor Troy Pickard.
However, Cr Nige Jones, who voted against the officers’ recommendation, said if the City did not find a permanent home for Joondalup United, he “feared they may be forced to look outside the City of Joondalup boundaries for a home”.
“Joondalup United are an amazing success story in our region,” he said.
“The first team comprises of about 14 semi-professional players and the rest of the 400-plus players in the club are not.
“The committee members are volunteers.”
He urged the chief executive to make liaising with Joondalup United to find a solution to host NPL WA games “on a permanent basis” a priority.
The council document said the other grounds Joondalup United uses – Charonia Park in Mullaloo, Forrest Park in Padbury and Prince Regent Park in Heathridge – have been deemed unsuitable to be upgraded to NPL WA standards.
Joondalup United will continue playing this season’s home NPL WA games at Percy Doyle Reserve in Duncraig as part of an agreement with Sorrento Football Club.
Local governments want help from Football West
LOCAL governments in the northern corridor want Football West to work with them to help with funding and providing football facilities.
At the City of Joondalup’s December meeting, council requested the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) engage with Football West to help clubs achieve National Premier League (NPL) status, rather than the responsibility resting with the local government.
Last month, the north metropolitan zone of WALGA, which includes the cities of Joondalup, Wanneroo and Stirling, moved a motion to request the WALGA state council to “advocate on behalf of local government and engage with the Department of Sport and Recreation and Football West to inform them that the sector’s role is to support community-based sport and recreation development and that the development of the elite/high level sport facilities should be funded through the state and state sporting associations”.
It was also requested that local governments be “consulted in the development of the Football West strategic plan and that it develops a sustainable model for the provision and management of NPL facility development and relegation”.
A meeting document said Football West was currently developing a new strategic plan under the Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) plan that was released in May 2015.
This national plan includes Football West having a facilities strategy that supports the local community with every local government having access to “some kind of football facilities” and for FFA, Football West and “various levels of government” to work together to help “fund and provide football facilities”.
“In addition to the development of a new strategic plan, Football West has advised it will be conducting a comprehensive review of the NPL… and working closely with all stakeholders, including local governments, to assess facility requirements to ensure the future growth of Football West clubs and competitions,” the document said.