Cruising Yacht Club gets $20,000 in City of Rockingham funding for the HydroFoil Pro Tour, despite opposition

The HydroFoil Pro Tour is coming to Rockingham.
The HydroFoil Pro Tour is coming to Rockingham.

COMMUNITY grant funding was at the centre of much debate at City of Rockingham’s council meeting last night , with more than $100,000 distributed to local organisations.

The big winners were The Cruising Yacht Club, granted its requested amount of $20,000 for the Hydrofoil Pro Tour, despite City officers recommending only half the amount be granted.

Councillor Chris Elliott moved an alternate motion to increase the funding as it was a chance for the City to display its foreshore on an international stage he said.

Pointing to the potential for worldwide subscription TV coverage as well as internet coverage, Cr Elliott said it had the potential to encourage growth within the City’s economy in years to come.

He gained support from Mayor Barry Sammels and Cr Katherine Summers, who said the money would act as a seed and potentially help the event gain major sponsorship in coming years.

Cr Lee Downham disagreed, describing the event as a gamble.

“Right now it is a punt (granting the extra funds) and I’m not prepared to do that with ratepayers’ money,” he said.

He found support from fellow Baldivis ward representative Matthew Whitfield who joined Cr Downham in voting against the extra $10,000 in funding, however Cr Elliot’s alternate motion was passed 8-2.

Cr Downham also argued against granting $5000 to Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce (RKCC) for its regional business awards, tabling an alternate motion to strip the funding, saying he felt it offered little to no value for money to the City.

The nine other councillors opposed him with Cr Kelly McManus saying the RKCC benefited many in Rockingham, while Cr Justin Smith said events such as the awards helped small businesses in the area by stimulating the economy.

The remaining grants were passed unanimously, including $10,000 to Yachting Western Australia ahead of September’s Westsail and WA State Youth Sailing Championships at Rockingham Beach, $30,000 to Bowls Safety Bay for synthetic green replacements and $10,000 to Rockingham City Football Club to host the Under-12s and Under-19s National Championships in 2016.