South Perth’s council continues to be split on its approach to developing an $80 million swimming pool facility, voting last night to increase pressure on the state government for funding.
The City of South Perth’s council continues to be split on its approach to developing an $80 million swimming pool facility, voting last night to increase pressure on the state government for funding.
The planned recreation and aquatic centre is to be built at the Collier Park Golf Course and has become a flashpoint.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a $20 million federal government funding commitment for the pool during the 2019 federal election.
That was one of a series of swimming pool commitments across the country which later received media scrutiny for the potential high costs for local governments.
The council has twice voted down a proposal to appoint a project manager, which Mayor Greg Milner said risked breaching the federal funding deal.
At a meeting last night, the council declined in a four-five vote to receive a petition from about 2,500 residents in favour of building the pool and appointing the project manager.
It did, however, approve a motion instructing the city's management to write to the state government requesting confirmation it will support the project, and asking the Treasury to give feedback on its business case.
That passed five to four.
Speaking against the motion, Mr Milner said the council would lack credibility pushing the state government for funding when it had voted against appointing a project manager.
“This council has knowingly and deliberately breached a milestone of the $20 million federal funding agreement, twice,” he said.
Mr Milner said directing management to write to the state government would not be likely to help attract funding, and would jeopardise work already under way.
Councillor Jennifer Nervard spoke in favour of the motion, saying that the state government would not be vindictive if it was asked to make a decision within weeks.
“If you ask a question they will certainly give you an answer,” Ms Nervard said.
Also in favour was Councillor Andre Brender-A-Brandis, who said council needed to carefully assess the project in light of rising inflation and construction cost pressure.
Councillor Glenn Cridland, who voted against the letter-writing motion, warned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build the pool with federal funding support would pass by if the council was not careful.
Mr Cridland also said he had concerns that the heavily amended motion was submitted to the meeting with no notice.
All of that follows an ongoing debate as to whether the scale of the facility is appropriate, with proponents arguing it will make the centre viable long term, while detractors want a lower capital cost option.
The meeting was told that South Perth chief executive Michael Bradford was already set to meet representatives from the state government to discuss the project today.
Nonetheless, the executive will now need to send a letter to the state government requesting a firm funding commitment.