Councillors at their February meeting voted to accept the tender from McCorkell Constructions to build a hockey facility, including one synthetic and two grass hockey pitches with irrigation, landscaping and floodlighting, at Warwick Open Space.
The City has committed $4.5 million to the project and received a further $1.2 million from State Government funding, while Whitford Hockey Club will contribute $600,000. However, the tender was less than the City had budgeted for the project.
Cr Russ Fishwick requested the City consider using the savings on extra car parking which was removed from the project when costs were looking to exceed the budget.
At the City’s March meeting, Cr Fishwick urged councillors to approve funding for the additional car parking as long as it did not exceed the project budget of $6.5 million.
He said it was common sense for the car parking to be built while contractors were on-site building the facility.
“I think we now have a great opportunity to get this development right the first time without wasting ratepayers’ money on parking upgrades in the future when we know 52 parking bays is grossly inadequate to service that centre,” he said.
At the previous week’s council briefing, Whitford Hockey Club treasurer David Moroney said he had met City officers after the February decision and had been advised the project savings were $401,450.
He said the club was keen to “reinstate the two items of critical infrastructure that had been removed prior to the tender” – an extension to the northern car park with 20 extra bays and the construction of a southern car park with up to 112 bays.
He said had the proposal not reduced the parking from 184 bays to 52, the tender would have come in on budget and requested it be reinstated as a priority.
“Parking at Warwick Open Space at peak times on weekends is currently a major issue for our neighbours at Warwick Stadium and the Warwick bowls and tennis clubs,” he said.
“When the hockey centre is operational, this will put further stresses on available parking.”
Mr Moroney said the club estimated there could be 240 hockey players at the facility at one time on weekend game days, as well as spectators, requiring about 180 car bays.
“It should also be noted that one of Hockey WA’s requirements to fixture showcase events such as finals and national and international scratch games is the availability of ample parking,” he said.
He said completing the car parks as part of the current project would be cheaper and safer than in the future.
Councillors approved to fund the parking 10-1, with Cr Nige Jones opposed. They also approved naming the facility the Warwick Hockey Centre.