Play for sports cash

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New complex: Design for multi-purpose sports stadium at Jubilee Park.

A MULTI-MILLION dollar push for state and federal money for sports hubs is top of Frankston Council’s wish list ahead of looming state and federal elections.

Councillors voted behind closed doors after the ordinary public meeting on 4 June, for commercial-in-confidence reasons, to lobby state and federal politicians for $30 million towards two expanded sports hubs.

Council has pledged $7.1 million of ratepayers’ money to a development of Jubilee Park Stadium and $8.05 million towards an upgraded Centenary Park sports hub.

But the money is conditional on both federal and state governments matching the council pledges.

The proposed expansion of the Jubilee Park sports hub, home of the Frankston & District Netball Association, would include six multi-purpose indoor courts for netball, basketball and indoor cricket.

A show court including 1000 seats for spectators would also be part of the stadium expansion.

The new Jubilee Park stadium has been budgeted by council to cost $31.5 million.

Council CEO Dennis Hovenden told The Times in April “the Jubilee solution” became an option after a majority of councillors voted in November last year to end negotiations with the Frankston & District Basketball Association (FDBA) over new lease terms for an upgraded Frankston Basketball Stadium at Seaford’s Bardia Avenue.

Council withdrew $4.5 million of ratepayers’ money from that project and federal Dunkley Liberal MP Chris Crewther subsequently made several allegations about the operations of the FDBA under parliamentary privilege that are now being investigated by Basketball Victoria.

The FDBA denies any wrongdoing.

The federal government had pledged to contribute $5.2 million to the Seaford project alongside $2.5 million from the state government.

Having walked away from the Seaford basketball stadium upgrade, council is now urging its federal and state partners in that project to join it in funding the Jubilee Park and Centenary Park hub expansions.

“We urge the current Victorian and Australian government and election candidates to join us in this investment in the Frankston community,” the mayor Cr Colin Hampton said in a statement.

Mr Crewther last week said the design and full costing for the Jubilee Park Stadium, under the Jubilee Park Masterplan, was finalised by council “under the $350,000 federal Liberal Coalition government funding I secured in June 2016”.

“This initial federal Coalition government funding to kickstart this project has now resulted in funding from Council of $7.1 million, which is fantastic,” Mr Crewther said.

“The federal department has already been considering council’s project scope for Jubilee Park since the end of March, in order to enable $5.2 million of already budgeted federal Coalition government funds to be approved for the project, which will include co-utilised netball, basketball, indoor cricket, football and community-use facilities.”

State Frankston Labor MP Paul Edbrooke did not respond before publication deadline when asked about possible state funding for both major projects.

Jubilee Park is in Mr Edbrooke’s electorate while the Seaford Basketball Stadium is in the electorate of Carrum, held by fellow Labor MP Sonya Kilkenny.

In April, a spokesman for Victorian Sports Minister John Eren said it was “disappointing that council resolved not to support the upgrade of the Frankston Basketball Stadium in Seaford”.

“We’re happy to consider any new proposal or project that would encourage more locals in Frankston to get on the court, close to home,” spokesman Kosta Pandos said.

Council wants to build a regional tennis and gymnastics hub at Centenary Park with federal and state funding help.

That project, to include 16 tennis courts and a gymnastics hall and training area, has been costed at about $27.6 million by council.

Mr Crewther said he is working with council and is “advocating for a large federal contribution towards that important project that Frankston City Council has designed and costed as requested by council”.

First published in the Frankston Times – 25 June 2018

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