Science and sport clash on the tennis court

SCIENCE and sport are clashing in Burswood.

Scitech has launched its latest bid to escape from City West that involves a $15 million to $20 million purpose-built facility on about half the land leased by Tennis West on the Burswood Peninsula.

But the move has upset Tennis West, a long-term resident of the peninsula, by potentially limiting its development options.

Scitech is currently negotiating with the Burswood Park Board, the Department of Commerce and Trade and Tennis West over its possible move.

Sources within Tennis West said forces within Government are putting pressure on it to cede the land to Scitech.

“The whole matter has become extremely political,” a Tennis West insider said.

“A lot of people seem to think we should just hand the land over to Scitech.”

Tennis West CEO David Copeland would not confirm there was any dispute with Government and simply stated his organisation was working out what it planned to do with the land.

Mr Copeland said Scitech’s approach had caused it to seriously consider its future needs.

“It wouldn’t be in the interest of Tennis West and those members who worked so hard to get us that land to give it away with considering our future needs,” he said.

“The Government was kind enough to give us this land. At the time nobody wanted it. Now it’s a strategic piece of land because of the Burswood Casino’s redevelopment of the old Swan Portland site.”

Tennis West has set up a planning committee to determine the best result for the organisation.

Scitech has virtually been looking for new premises for most of the 13 years it has been at CityWest. Its other potential new homes included the Swan Brewery development on Mounts Bay Road and the old East Perth Power Station.

Scitech CEO Alan Brien said CityWest had always been considered an interim venue.

“It’s reached the point where the centre’s long-term future has to be considered,” Mr Brien said.

“The Omni Theatre’s loss had an impact on us.”

He said any move away from CityWest was still three to four years away.

Retail franchiser Harvey Norman recently bought the City West complex from Hong Kong-based Hang Lung Corporation for $25.5 million earlier this year.

Chesterton International director Ian Mickle believes the complex’s location means its future will be sound even if Scitech left.


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