THE City of Joondalup will apply for State Government funding to put towards the proposed redevelopment of Prince Regent Park in Heathridge if it proceeds.
Councillors at last week’s meeting voted unanimously to apply for $615,116 through the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund.
At last month’s meeting, the council considered the proposal, including two soccer fields and upgraded floodlighting, a new community sporting facility, carpark extension and relocation of the cricket training nets and wicket, which would create a home base for Joondalup United Football Club.
The proposal was approved on the condition the facility would not be used for senior National Premier Leagues (NPL) games and that Joondalup United agreed to contribute $100,000 toward the $3.07 million project, which it has.
But the proposal has caused angst in the Heathridge community, with residents again raising concerns last week.
Tamara Vance said the community felt like it had been “left in the dark”.
“The community has banded together because they do not want to see their local park redeveloped,” she said.
“We have collected 680 signatures in less than 24 hours.”
She said Joondalup United had indicated they “only needed a place to store their gear”.
“If this is the case, the only changes needed are to add on to the existing toilet block, which would then cut out the need to move the lights that were just put in in 2014, to move the cricket nets a second time, cut down trees and add parking,” she said.
“This will greatly reduce the cost of this project.”
She said residents were concerned that the redevelopment would bring the facility to NPL standard, allowing the use of the ground to change in the future.
Mr Pickard reiterated that the facility was not being built to NPL standard.
He reminded residents that the meeting was not to make a decision on proceeding with the project.
“We’re going out for public consultation and then we will seek the views of the community,” he said.
“This is a trigger to seek an opportunity to receive funding from the State Government if the project proceeds following community consultation.”
He said because of the CSRFF deadline at the end of September, the City was required to apply for the funding before it could go out for public consultation.
“A report on the CSRFF funding will come back to council early next year,” he said.
“By that stage, the council will have executed community consultation and would know the views of the local community and then in a public forum, those two decisions merge and the council can make their final decision.”
Cr Philippa Taylor urged residents to take part in the consultation, which runs from October 9 to 30.
“If you don’t receive one but would like us to know your opinion, please go online and fill in the form,” she said.“But please take time to read the facts,” she said.
“Please do not get confused with the other facilities in Craigie and Beldon.
“Those proposed facilities were completely different.
“With each proposal, I stood with the residents to protect their amenity of the park.
“I used to live on Prince Regent Drive so I would protect that park if it was going to be ruined with fencing and seating.”Mr Pickard said he was also concerned about the “absolute rubbish” he had seen about the proposal.
“I encourage the community to take a deep breath and allow us an opportunity to put the facts on the table and ask us as many questions as you like,” he said.
He said he had also encouraged the president of the Heathridge Residents Association to facilitate a community forum.
Another resident at the meeting asked if Joondalup United had considered using Arena Joondalup.
Mr Pickard said the venue was managed by VenuesWest so the City had “no control over the cost structure that’s imposed on the users”.
“The rates that are charged for all sporting clubs are significantly higher than the rates the City of Joondalup charges on our community facilities,” he said.
“I have personally intervened and spoken to the CEO of VenuesWest and asked him to reconsider the rates because it’s financially unviable for Joondalup United to hire the facility.
“That review process is occurring but I can’t see a rate being struck between VenuesWest and Joondalup United that will enable them to utilise that facility.”
He said the City was currently investigating Percy Doyle Reserve in Duncraig to be a NPL facility for all clubs in the City.