WHITFORD City Football Club will remain at Warrandyte Park in Craigie.
At last night’s meeting, Joondalup councillors voted not to allocate Joondalup United Football Club to the Craigie park and agreed to retain Whitford City as the primary winter tenant.
The decision ends the Save Warrandyte Park campaign that started in September when the council unanimously voted to relocate Whitford City, which had been the tenant for 41 years, to Beldon Park and Charonia and Korella parks in Mullaloo.
This was to allow Joondalup United to have a home ground at Warrandyte Park that would meet Football West’s standards for a National Premier Leagues (NPL) team.
However, strong community opposition saw the decision revoked in October to allow for further investigation and consultation, which resulted in City officers recommending the relocation not go ahead.
Councillor Liam Gobbert said he had never seen the council chamber’s public gallery “so full so consistently and so passionate”.
He said councillors had a duty to represent the interests of the local community and to make decisions for the district.
“It was difficult to arrive at a position that didn’t affect some person or some group in some way,” he said.
“I think a certain amount of respect is needed… to recognise 41 years… is an incredible amount of time for a club to be so dedicated to its community.
“But in the interest of the district of the City of Joondalup, we have a duty to find Joondalup United a home.”
He moved an alternative motion to earmark Beldon Park as the preferred home ground for Joondalup United, which is already the summer and winter tenant, pending a report to council in March, including the works and cost required to make it NPL-standard and community feedback.
“I think it’s an acceptable compromise,” he said.
However, Cr Russell Poliwka did not support the alternative motion.
While he supported not relocating Whitford City, he believed the City needed more time to investigate potential home grounds for Joondalup United.
Cr Gobbert’s motion also included a request for a report on designating Percy Doyle Reserve in Duncraig as “an NPL stadium site for use by Sorrento Football Club as their home ground and by other City of Joondalup clubs for NPL matches”, to be prepared in consultation with Sorrento, Joondalup United and ECU football clubs and Football West.
“We need to recognise there will be growth in this sport in to the future and our responsibility… is to make long-term decisions,” he said.
Cr Nige Jones agreed the City needed to “look a bit bigger”, stating Vincent, Perth and Stirling had grounds the City should aspire to.
“We need a regional facility to house NPL,” he said.
“Next year or the year after we might have Joondalup City get NPL and we need to be prepared.”
Cr Sophie Dwyer also moved an amendment to request the WA Local Government Association engage with Football West to work with local governments to help with funding and providing football facilities.
The alternative motion was passed 11-2 with Crs Nige Jones and Russell Poliwka against.
Joondalup United will play its NPL games at Sorrento Football Club’s Percy Doyle Reserve for the 2017 season.
Beldon Park to be considered
JOONDALUP Mayor Troy Pickard said while Beldon Park was the most suitable home ground for Joondalup United Football Club, it would have a “significant cost implication”.
“I expect it will be about $1.5 million to $2 million,” he said at last night’s meeting.
“We need to accept there will be a fiscal impost on the City’s budget and we need to… probably shift projects around to make sure there’s not a fiscal impost on our ratepayers.
“That is the harsh reality of not fully utilising our assets and building new assets instead.
“We have a duty to ensure our clubs are supported and provided with a home.
“A club that has a toilet block as its home is not satisfactory.”
He also “forewarned residents that abut Warrandyte Park or live in Craigie” that was “a matter of time” until the park would be used by more sporting clubs.
“I accept Whitford City has been there for a long time but the reality of Warrandyte Park is it’s the third largest active reserve in the City,” he said.
“There are significant clubs under pressure for ground use, for ground hire, for clubroom use, for clubroom hire and Warrandyte Park is highly under utilised.
“It is well utilised during the day by community groups but not well utilised in summer or winter by sporting clubs.
“The reality is, we need to fully utilise our spaces and I encourage Whitford City to do so otherwise it will be a matter of time until a sporting club needs to be located there and I’d suggest probably a summer club as well.
“It is not your backyard, it is the community’s asset and it’s there for everyone to enjoy for its amenity as a local venue and a venue for sporting clubs.”
Mr Pickard also reiterated his disappointment “in a large number of individuals in our community”.
“I haven’t seen in our City of 174,000 residents over the last 10 years that I’ve been mayor, residents react in such a disturbing manner,” he said.
“I accept anything to do with your home is going to be sensitive but to date, the Joondalup (United) community have engaged with the City and the council in a respectful, considered and constructive manner and sadly, I didn’t see that in the main during this consultation.”