Club springs $3m offside trap

FLOREAT ATHENA Football Club kept Vincent council in the dark about a $3 million federal grant to upgrade Litis Stadium at a meeting two days before it was announced.

The club has been struggling to convince the council to offer a long-term lease of the stadium at Britannia Reserve across the freeway from Lake Monger for the last three years.

It met with Vincent mayor Emma Cole and her executives last week to invite them to the launch, but refused to provide details about the size of the grant or where it was coming from.

“The City of Vincent and Football West were not consulted or included in this funding process,” Ms Cole says.

“As the landowner of Litis Stadium, on behalf of our community, and as Football West is the state sporting association and also a major stakeholder, this was quite a surprise.”

Ms Cole didn’t attend the funding announcement last Saturday and says despite Vincent being painted into a corner where it risks being seen as an ungrateful landlord, the council is sticking to its guns.

Excitement

“While the city acknowledges the efforts and excitement of the club in obtaining this funding commitment, it does not alter our position on the club’s short-term lease and the work that needs to be undertaken to inform any future facility options and associated tenure arrangements,” Ms Cole says.

Last year the club spent $100,000 preparing a master plan for Litis in an attempt to convince the council to  give it a long-term lease.

Instead it got two years so the city could prepare its own master plan, with council staff flagging that the era of one club having exclusive use of a public space was coming to an end.”

“Shared use,” was the catchword in council reports.

The council also wants the club to prove it is financially sustainable, has a management plan for the stadium and provides a wider community benefit before it’ll commit to a longer lease.

Ms Cole said there was no way Britannia land would be sold off for Claremont Oval-like residential redevelopment.

“There’s no way the city would sell the land…we’re currently trying to make the most of every bit of public space,” she told the Voice.

by DAVID BELL

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