Grand Opening - Wongan Hills Sports, Recreation and Community Complex

Published on Monday, 19 October 2020 at 4:27:00 PM

Representing the Hon Mick Murray MLA, Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Darren West MLC, the Local member for the Agricultural Region and special guest Jenifer Collins from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries joined the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu community  to celebrate the official opening of stage 1 of the $4.6million Wongan Hills Sports, Recreation and Community Complex, a significant boost to sporting and recreation facilities in the Shire.

The Shire allocates approximately 25% of its total budget to recreation and culture thus demonstrating its significant commitment to sport, recreation and culture in Wongan-Ballidu.  The Shire's Sports and Community Colocation Project has been an ambitious and long-awaited development, realised thanks to the hard work and dedication of numerous volunteers and staff committed to delivering a facility that meets the current and future needs of the community.

Designed by MCG Architects and built by Firm Construction, the existing Wongan Hills Sports Pavilion underwent a massive transformation and now features modern, world class amenities including a newly installed gymnasium, tennis courts, squash court and ablution facilities.  The cool room area was modified and enlarged.  Not originally planned as part of the colocation project, Council also made the decision to improve the lighting facilities and orientation of the hockey oval and install new instantaneous hot water systems in the change rooms.  These enhancements were made possible through careful savings in other areas of the Shire budget.  In total, the Shire contributed $3.2m to the project, $1.2m from cash reserves and an additional $2m from a long-term loan.   A strategy is in place to manage the loan in a way that won’t have an adverse impact on ratepayers.

Gathering under the massive outdoor undercover reception and BBQ area which flows through folding doors into the bar area, the 150 guests attending the opening event had a taste of how well the facility accommodates patrons.

Both Cr Hasson and Hon Darren West acknowledged and thanked the following financial contributors, without which the project would not have been possible:  The Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries (CSRFF Fund) $435k, Lotterywest $400k,Wongan Hills Community Association $200k, Wongan Hills Sports Council $100k, Wongan Hills Tennis Club $40k, Tennis Australia $30K, Kondut Greater Sports Council $20k and Wongan-Ballidu Fitness Club $20k.

Speaking of the vision for the new complex, Cr Hasson sees the venue as a central recreational and sporting hub where the community and visiting towns can come together, play sport, exercise and socialise at a quality facility for years to come. 

With stage 1 of the project now complete, Cr Hasson also announced plans for stage 2 of the project.  “The entire project will be complete when stage 2, the bowling green, is constructed and the bowls club moves over to complete the vision,” he said.  Stage 2 will also see the change rooms upgraded.  Cr Hasson also confirmed that funding has been secured to complete stage two of the project. 

Current fellow councillors and former councillors who sat on council to make many of the critical project decisions were also thanked for their dedication, in particular past Shire President Peter Macnamara was thanked for his role in implementing the project.  The Steering Committee of Jeff Brennan, Matt Sewell, Megan Pawsey, Stuart Taylor and Chair Don Sadler were praised for their selfless time given to supporting this project and the community.  Cr Hasson made special mention of Shire CEO Stuart Taylor who has played a significant role in the project since its inception.  “Stuart is a dreamer, in a good way he said.  He can see the vision, the “big picture” and can draw all the parts together and make the dream a reality.”  Mr Taylor has also demonstrated exceptional skill in steering the project, and the fact that the colocation budget has only run over by 1.2% is great testament to this.  

Cr Hasson also spoke of the massive in-kind contribution of the community who carted 8000 of the 10 000 cubic metres of sand required for the building’s foundations.  This was achieved using the communities own time, labour and machinery to do so.

Guests attending the event enjoyed great Wongan hospitality thanks to the Wongan Hills Tennis Club who catered the event and provided bar facilities.  Cr Hasson and Shire management and staff thank the Tennis Club for their efforts in helping to run a seamless event.

(Cover photograph:  L-R Hon Darren West MLC, Colocation Chair Don Sadler and Cr Jon Hasson cutting the ribbon)

Photographed below:  The Colocation Steering Committee L-R Jeff Brennan, Matt Sewell, Megan Pawsey, Stuart Taylor and Chair Don Sadler

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