Town of Cambridge leaves Perth Netball Association in the dark over funding for extra lights

Perth Netball Association president Elaine Clucas has asked for support from the Town of Cambridge for support to install lights on 19 courts at teh Matthews Netball Centre. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Perth Netball Association president Elaine Clucas has asked for support from the Town of Cambridge for support to install lights on 19 courts at teh Matthews Netball Centre. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

THE Perth Netball Association (PNA) says it is “gutted” after the Town of Cambridge held off support for extra lighting at the Matthews Netball Centre.

The PNA wanted the council to support lighting for an extra 19 hard courts on the northwest corner of the facility.

Had it been forthcoming, a grant would have been sought from the State Government Community Sport and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF).

A successful application could have covered one third of the $430,000 project cost, with the rest to be split between the Association and the Town.

But the majority of councillors believed community consultation had considered only the installation of new lights, and not the effect of the Association’s grander plan including extended operating hours, and voted last Tuesday to defer making a call.

The deferral brought with it extra requirements for the Association, which must now hold a traffic study addressing the impact of its long-term plans, more community consultation about its expanded hours and weeks of operation, and more consultation with other clubs at the Wembley Sports Precinct.

Perth Netball Association president Elaine Clucas said the Association – which has more than 6500 participants – was “gutted” with the decision and there would probably not be enough time to submit a bid for the next round of CSRFF funding.

“We want to run the winter competition we have run for 56 years, a spring competition for nine weeks in spring, and have training Mondays to Thursdays,” she said.

“I don’t know why the council wouldn’t see this as a positive.

“All we wanted to do (with the later timeslots on Fridays) was have overflow capacity to take some of the pinch off the Saturday mornings (when it is most busy).

“And the spring competition is when nobody else is using the facility and we’re talking about using an extra 25 per cent of current capacity.”

Cr Jane Powell said at the meeting residents needed more information before a decision could be made.

“Listening to the PNA and Wembley Athletics Club, they’ve all got expansion plans in terms of competitions, teams and all that sort of stuff,” she said.

“Those sort of things should be flagged so we can manage the expectations of what the park can deliver and what the residents are willing to tolerate.”

Mayor Keri Shannon said “intensity of use, traffic and the parking” were separate to the issue of putting more lights at the centre.

“It’s really one of those situations where we’ve allowed a lot of irrelevant considerations to cloud what should be quite a simple decision,” she said.

“I think it’s something we should be embracing and supporting but putting limits in place and helping them manage it so our residents’ expectations about the site are also managed.”

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