The Reds Volleyball Association’s dreams of more pitch space have been bolstered by the City of South Perth’s decision not to appoint a director for the development of its recreational and aquatic facilities.
Councilors in South Perth last week voted against a staff recommendation to appoint an independent project manager in a move that Mayor Greg Milner said amounted to “killing” the project.
The board had to appoint an independent project manager by July 1 this year or risk losing a $20 million federal government grant for the project. It was a mandatory step in the funding deal the city secured in April 2019. Mr Milner said a “no vote” to hire a project manager for the development of the RAF meant there was a “high probability” that the Federal Government would terminate its funding agreement. .
Perth Now asked local government minister John Carey if he thought the RAF project was ‘dead’, to which he replied it was a ‘matter for council’.
“When undertaking major projects, councils must take into account a range of considerations, in particular the impact on ratepayers,” he said.
“So I always say this, I always urge councils to be very careful when it comes to major decisions – this (the RAF project) is a major decision for the council.”
Reds Volleyball Association chairman Anthony Meo said nothing was set in stone but the club had high hopes that if the city’s RAF scheme had been implemented there would be more of land space in South Perth.
He said pressures on the association’s indoor court facilities meant it was offering grass-based programs in a few locations.
“We are constantly looking for court spaces in this local area,” he said.
“There were still a lot of discussions about the RAF project with various stakeholder groups, so we had no idea what it would look like for the Reds if it went ahead.
“The project was at a very preliminary stage. . . but we desperately need more judicial space in this local area.
South Perth chief executive Mike Bradford said despite the council’s recent decision not to appoint a project leader for the RAF project, the city remained committed to it and working with state and federal government and project partners to achieve the goal.
“The RAF is a key part of the city’s strategic community plan which addresses the lack of community sports and recreation facilities in the area,” he said.
The Reds Volleyball Association celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and has grown since its inception in 2018 with 17 WA Volleyball League and 32 WA Volleyball Junior League teams.
But Mr. Meo has only one idea in mind: to find the association’s first home.
Mr Meo said a cafe named Raktacino was currently dubbed the association office because it had no administrative office, storage or event space.
“This (a home base) would strengthen our identity, reduce the burden on our volunteers and coaches, it would be a place to call home, office space, event space, meeting room space and it would bring our association under one roof which would be amazing for our coaches, players and volunteers,” he said.
The association currently uses 11 different educational institutions south of the river for training and games, including Aquinas College, Penrhos College and Santa Maria College.
Mr Meo said it had become a ‘massive challenge and a ‘logistical nightmare’ operating from so many different locations.
“Without an urgent installation, we are going to be in a position where the quality of the programs that we offer will be diminished,” he said.
“The logistical nightmare of managing coaches, volunteers and equipment across multiple venues is a headache for us as an association.
“This means that the coaches will train the teams at one venue and then travel the same night to another venue to have their own training for the team they are playing for. This is a huge challenge that we would like to find a solution to. “
Mr Meo predicted that operating from a centralized $20 million four-court house – either a stand-alone facility or part of a development – would allow the association to outsource up to three other websites.
“We would need four basketball courts and if built the right way it would allow up to 12 volleyball courts, which would allow three courts per basketball court,” he said. -he declares.
He said the association was “open” to working with other sports clubs and local, state and federal governments to determine what the most appropriate solution would be.
“We’re really open-minded about what it would look like and where it could be based,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we would just like to be under the same roof.”
Perth Now reported last month that Perth Redbacks new signing, general manager Ryan Lenegan, was also on a mission to find the NBL1 club’s first permanent home.