Heathridge’s Prince Regent Park floated as potential new home for Joondalup United

Prince Regent Park. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Prince Regent Park. Picture: Martin Kennealey

CITY of Joondalup is now looking to house Joondalup United Football Club in Heathridge.

The City has been trying to find the club a home for more than a year, with proposals at Forrest Park in Padbury, Warrandyte Park in Craigie and Beldon Park all rejected following strong community opposition.

Councillors at last night’s meeting considered a proposed redevelopment at Prince Regent Park for the club’s community-based fixtures, including two soccer fields and upgraded floodlighting, a new community sporting facility, carpark extension and relocation of the cricket training nets and wicket.

This means the ground would not be used for senior National Premier Leagues (NPL) games.

Currently, Joondalup United uses the park for training and junior matches in winter, while Ocean Ridge senior and junior cricket clubs use it in summer.

The new community sporting facility would include a meeting room overlooking the oval, change rooms, umpire room, toilets, kitchen, storage, CCTV room and a covered spectator veranda.

Five trees will need to be removed but it is proposed new trees be planted across the site.

There will also be a “unisex ‘park toilet’ designed to include the automatic timed door lock system and be accessible without compromising the security of the remainder of the facility”.

The project was estimated to cost $2.62 million and can be considered as part of the State Government’s Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF), which closes in September.

Currently, there is $1.6 million listed in the City’s capital works program across 2017-18 and 2018-19 for the redevelopment of a clubroom facility for Joondalup United.

Prince Regent Park had also been flagged for a redevelopment as part of $2.1 million included in the City’s 20-Year Strategic Financial Plan in 2031-32.

However, Mayor Troy Pickard moved an amendment to increase the change rooms from two to four to cater for the “growing participation of females in key national sports”.

“We are starting to see an increase request from sporting clubs to provide dedicated change rooms,” he said.

He said the City’s standard was to provide two change rooms, increasing to four when there were three or more fields.

He said though Prince Regent Park did not meet the criteria for four, the City would be “future proofing” the facility.

This would increase the project cost by $453,000 to $3.07 million.

Councillor Liam Gobbert said he could not support the additional funding.

“We’re being asked to budget nearly $3 million for sport recreation and the recommendation is asking us to alter the budget yet again; the budget that included $43 million for a single year of sport and recreation,” he said.

“If for three years, we didn’t fund sport and recreation, we could build and operate the Joondalup performing arts centre for the next two decades.

“Every little bit that we change the budget adds up.”

Mr Pickard also added a condition that Joondalup United contributes $100,000 to the project “as per an agreed payment plan approved by the chief executive”.

He said he “floated the suggestion” to the Joondalup United president.

“The president expressed concerns that by contributing $100,000 and leaving minimal funds in the bank, particularly given their NPL journey and having to pay $4000 a game if they pick it up at HBF Arena, it’s going to place them under financial strain,” he said.

“We need to be conscious of that, hence the wording that the chief executive is to prepare a payment plan.”

Cr Philippa Taylor said if the proposal went ahead, it would be “another facility for the people of Heathridge to utilise for their other clubs and meetings”.

“It should be a general improvement to this amenity for the people of Heathridge,” she said.

“I want to make it clear that this development is in no way to make rounds for a suitable place for senior NPL games to be played because this would be a gross impost on the community of Heathridge.”

The proposal will soon be advertised for community consultation, with a further report to council later this year.

The council will also consider a CSRFF application for $300,000 at next month’s meeting.

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