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Swimming pool stoush: City of Perth pulls plug on WACA plans

Oliver Peterson & Gary Adshead
Article image for Swimming pool stoush: City of Perth pulls plug on WACA plans

City of Perth councillors have voted unanimously against the development of an aquatic facility at the WACA.

An independent report found the pool would cost the council $120 million to run over a 40 year period, prompting the council to withdraw their support from the proposal.

Member for Perth and Minister for Local Government John Carey said it’s a sad and disappointing decision by the council.

“What we need are basic amenities that are attractive, so the pool at the WACA is a clear opportunity,” he told Oliver Peterson, filling in for Gareth Parker.

“If we want people to live in the city, and people drive vibrancy, drive life, then we need to have basic amenities.

“The City of Perth is the only capital city that doesn’t have an aquatic facility.”

The pool was part of the $1.5 billion Perth city deal, which is a joint proposition between federal, state and local governments.

“They argued against this project on the basis of cost over 40 years,” Mr Carey said.

“Be under no illusion, a separate aquatic facility will cost a lot more to rate payers, than this unique opportunity that we have right now.”

Press PLAY to hear why the state government is livid over the plans being rejected 

Premier Mark McGowan has said the council’s decision to reject the deal had “failed the local community”.

Speaking with 6PR’s Gary Adshead Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas rejected those claims.

“To say we have failed the community is plainly, and flat out wrong,” he said.

“Once we saw the business case, then we understood the full financial implications, it’s a bad deal for the ratepayers of the City of Perth.”

He said the council hasn’t ruled out plans for a pool at a different location in the future.

“Last night we said no to the WACA aquatic facility … but we have not said no to an aquatic facility in the City of Perth.

“We will not be bullied into building something that does not stack up.”

And he’s confident the Perth city deal won’t be jeopardised.

“The $1.5 billion dollar city deal remains unchanged otherwise from our point of view, we whole heartedly support the transformational arrangements that is going to bring great benefit to our city.”

Press PLAY to hear the Lord Mayor’s comments in full 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Oliver Peterson & Gary Adshead