Vincent’s headache: What to do with Beatty?
VINCENT council may have to fork out $7.5 million in repairs for a grandstand unlikely to ever seat sports fans again.
The money is needed to maintain Beatty Park Leisure Centre’s heritage-listed grandstand and facade, with Vincent council resigned to DIY maintenance if state or federal funding doesn’t come through.
A recent structural report said the overall centre was pretty sturdy and not at risk of collapse, but the grandstand’s been cordoned off for years as it doesn’t comply with modern safety codes.
The $7.5m is the bare minimum to retain the facade and grandstand, and much more will be needed if the two can be upgraded and opened to the public again.
The centre was built for the 1962 Commonwealth Games and vested in Perth City Council, but when Vincent was carved out in 1994 it was lumped with the bills to keep verything running and in decent nick.
For nearly two years the council’s been trying to get other levels of government to commit cash to the centre, which is still crown-owned and considered a “regional facility” given 70 per cent of attendees are from outside Vincent.
So far letters have gone out to federal Perth MP Patrick Gorman, federal infrastructure minister Michael McCormack, senator Dean Smith and premier Mark McGowan, and state sports minister Mick Murray and state Perth MP John Carey have recently toured the site.
Advocacy efforts continue, as to date they’ve only received $270,000 of federal money. That’s a small dent in this financial year’s $2.9m bill to replace tiles, filters, and patch leaks in the dormant grandstand so it doesn’t deteriorate.
Vincent mayor Emma Cole says “if our advocacy program goes nowhere we’ll at least start allocating some funds towards the preservation itself.
“We’re spending $2.9m on Beatty Park this year” and would continue putting money aside for preservation: “We’re chipping away at it.
“It’s not as if the structure will crumble and fall, it’s actually quite a strong structure, the concrete is in good condition.”
In March various state government agencies pondered developing part of the site. But it’s an A-class reserve purely for recreation, is heritage listed, and the developable area is so tiny they decided it wasn’t feasible.
Ms Cole says big discussions are needed to decide what the community wants to do with the centre.
Community workshops are planned for February to April next year.
The council has a few ageing assets in similar shape that are a big burden on the budget, like Litis Stadium and Leederville Oval.
How to deal with them will all be considered under their new “asset management and sustainability strategy” councillors just voted to put out for public comment.
While the name’s a bit dry, Cr Jonathan Hallett noted at this week’s meeting: “[Don’t] be put off by the name of the strategy, it’s incredibly important that a lot of community conversation happens around the elements that are in it because this is a long time coming.”
By DAVID BELL