Palmyra Rugby Club sounds the alarm about the Tompkins Park redvelopment

Tompkins Park.
Tompkins Park.

THE hierarchy at Palmyra Rugby Club is concerned about its future ahead of the start of the $9.4m Tompkins Park Redevelopment.

The City of Melville intends to make the Melville and Mt Pleasant Bowls Club join the Tompkins Park Community Recreation Association (TPCRA), which provides profits to the rugby club and the Melville Cricket Club.

Palmyra Rugby Club secretary Faye Strugnell gave a passionate message to the council at Tuesday’s council briefing session about the club’s financial future as the association missed out on months of function bookings after the start of the construction was delayed from July 2018 to March 2019.

Club president Justin Petersen said among the issues that the club had with the redevelopment was that the TPCRA would lose its main function room, which generated 60 per cent of the association’s revenue.

“Other issues regarding the redevelopment include redistribution of public space for commercial benefit, deduction in playing fields for rugby, storage and lighting of fields,” he said.

“No operating model has been produced that demonstrates that the outcome of the redevelopment will be financially sustainable for the clubs and the community.”

Mr Petersen said as the lease between the TPRCA and the rugby club had expired, and if it did not “align with City of Melville expectations”, then there might be no other option than to relocate, reduce in size or play in a lower division.

He said the club wanted the TPCRA to remain as it was but it would continue to work with the City.

City of Melville acting chief executive Marten Tieleman said the association and club’s current model was “marginal” and “high risk” while at times “excluding” some community groups from accessing the facility.

“Trends of the current model also indicate that the financial viability of the Association has been decreasing over the last five years, with it paying dividends to both the Rugby and Cricket Clubs that were, on average, double the amount of net profit,” he said.

“This scenario has unfortunately left lower funds in the associations reserves and is unsustainable going forward.”

Mr Tieleman said the City was working with Clubs WA and had engaged an independent financial expert to assist the association and clubs as well as to develop the new operating model including issues such how the Clubs will operate during the construction period.

“Our officers will continue to meet regularly with the Clubs and the Association during this transition phase and the City is also providing financial support to the association during the current period leading up to construction,” he said.

“The current operational model needs to change, and this is why we are working hard with all the groups to ensure the Clubs and the Association will be sustainable in the long term for everyone to enjoy.”

The Melville Cricket Club declined to comment.