Big pool bill lands with city

A HUGE request for a $25 million ‘contribution’ to the WACA pool project has landed on Perth council’s door.

It comes as the state government tries to get the current council to make good on its predecessors’ tentative agreement.

Back in September 2021, just weeks before the current line-up was elected, the council was being run by caretaker commissioners appointed by the state government. The commissioners agreed to contribute the $25m to the WACA pool and $10m for Roe Street upgrades as part of the Perth City Deal between all three tiers of government.

But the pool funding was “subject to council’s future consideration and endorsement of a business case”.

The new council didn’t like the cost, estimated at $151m over its 40-year lifespan (a figure disputed by the state government) and reckoned it was better off looking for another site and doing its own thing.

But the state still wants a “one off” contribution to honour the commissioners’ commitment, sending a request for the $25m earlier this month.

Hard cap

Perth council CEO Michelle Reynolds has advised the council it might be a good idea to pay up as long as they get it in writing that it’s a hard cap that doesn’t include any maintenance.

Her recommendation to councillors notes they’ve been keen on eventually getting some kind of pool in the city, and paying $25m as a one-off was probably the quickest and cheapest way to go about it.

Councillors vote on whether to pay up at the August 31 meeting. 

Tacked onto the request for $25m was also another optimistic invoice from the s tate for a $10m contribution for “unspecified CBD transport initiatives”.

It’s separate from the $10m the council committed for Roe Street upgrades (which has now ballooned in price and will cost them $12.5m), but they still don’t know what’s in the transport mystery box.

Ms Reynolds reckons councillors should say no, given “the lack of clarity”, and also noting the city pays millions to the state in parking levies every year for an increasingly bloated fund that’s meant to cover that stuff.

by DAVID BELL

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