Westbury gets new recreation centre

AT LONG LAST: Meander Valley Councillor Bob Richardson said he has been lobbying for a new recreation centre for 15 years. Picture: Paul Scambler
AT LONG LAST: Meander Valley Councillor Bob Richardson said he has been lobbying for a new recreation centre for 15 years. Picture: Paul Scambler

Westbury is set to receive a new recreation centre.

A motion to spend $5 million on new community facilities at Westbury Recreation Ground was carried by an absolute majority at September’s Meander Valley Council meeting, with Councillors Craig Perkins, Tanya King and Deborah White voting against the motion.

The motion was passed after the original $1.2 million proposal to update the current facilities was voted down by the council at the same meeting.

Mayor Craig Perkins said that the new centre would include a sports pavilion, changerooms and a function centre.

The $5 million facility will service a number of sports and community groups, according to the mayor.

Councillor Bob Richardson said the new recreation centre would fill a large void in community facilities available at Westbury.

“Hagley and Westbury together have more people than Scottsdale, is about the same size as Deloraine and is bigger than St Helens,” he said.

“Yet spending in this area in the last 40 years by state, local and federal governments on infrastructure has been minimal.”

Cr Richardson also said the original plans to upgrade current facilities did not go far enough.

“I’ve been lobbying for 15 years to produce a centre which was a multi-puprose centre – community and sport,” he said.  

“Only a third of the facility was going to be built [in the original proposal], and it was going to be through three stages. 

“But it’s been my experience over many years that when people talk about building things in phases, they get stretched out and never get completed.”

However, the new proposal garnered consternation from Councillor Deborah White. 

“I think the version of the recreation centre that’s been proposed will prove expensive to run, and I’m not sure if the usage is going to be solid to cover that,” she said.

“The fact is there are only two current users [of the Westbury Recreation Ground] – the football and cricket clubs.

“I support a new centre, but I think we needed to have a more modest plan.”