The February Hilton Precinct meeting heard a passionate presentation from Vice President of Fremantle Hawks Junior Football Club Leon Flanagan. Leon explained that while the club keeps attracting a large number of younger players, it has trouble hanging on to them as they progress into their teenage years. This it turn makes it hard for the club to keep afloat. Leon cited two particular factors; the lack of lighting which really reduces the opportunity for weekday evening training and the very run down and inadequate clubrooms. He emphasised the positve social role the football club could be playing by drawing a larger number of teenagers into sport.
Leon and other club members gave a group of councillors a tour of the current facilities. The 1950s clubrooms only consist of two small change rooms and toilets that vent into a make-do kitchen. We then looked at possible locations for new clubrooms that could be located in a multi-user facility with the nearby Hilton Park Bowling Club. We all agreed that a new building shared with the bowling club whose function rooms could be hired by other groups as well would be a real asset to the community.
Funding for lighting towers at the Dick Lawrence Oval has already been approved. Consultants have been appointed by the council to investigate options for new facilities. Their report was due to be presented in March but this has been delayed to April. Because the project will need to be co-funded by the state government, members of the football club are anxious that this not cause the project to be delayed until the state's 2012 funding cycle. I am confident that council will approve facilities that both meet the requirements of the the football and bowling clubs and wider community in time to make this year's funding applications and will be arguing that it is money worth spending.