The top organising body for basketball in Western Australia has become part of a growing push for improved indoor sporting facilities within Bunbury.
Basketball WA chief executive officer Rob Clement met with City of Bunbury, South West Sports Centre, Department of Sport and Recreation, and Bunbury Basketball Association representatives last month.
The group discussed ideas for future infrastructure, the location of a proposed regional basketball hub in the South West, the Bunbury-Wellington Facilities Strategy, and Basketball WA’s current investment in the region.
Mr Clement also brought up the idea of basing a Basketball WA employee in the South West.
He said they would like to see an eight-court basketball facility, for carnivals and touring teams, in the region.
“It was a great opportunity to discuss the future needs of the sport as well of that of the city,” he said.
“We both want the same thing, which is to see the people of Bunbury and surrounding areas have the opportunity to participate in sport.
“Bunbury Basketball and Basketball WA need to work with the council on the medium-to-long-term facility planning and ensure that the council is aware of the basketball community’s requirements moving forward so our needs can be mapped and articulated into future city sporting developments.”
The meeting helped to establish a “cooperative relationship” between basketball groups, the City of Bunbury, and Basketball WA, according to Bunbury Basketball Association secretary Marina Quain.
“It was very refreshing to hear that the city recognises the need, and are working towards a result,” she said.
“We are on the same path to achieve the same goal for the community.”
The group stressed the value of improving the South West Sports Centre’s three existing courts to meet International Basketball Federation guidelines.
Ms Quain sighted the social benefits of team sports, saying they help with early learning, growth, and development.
The Bunbury Basketball Association currently has 1690 registered junior and senior members as well as 185 teams overall.
The group has estimated they would have around 2050 registered members and 256 teams by 2021.
They said they would like to see the council allocate funds in the 2018/19 budget towards a feasibility study, a current-and-future-needs analysis report, and an economic impact report.
The city has begun developing its latest Sport and Recreation Strategy, due to be presented to council in December.
City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said they were committed to seeking opportunities to increase basketball participation.
“The Bunbury Basketball Association should maintain open dialogue with the city whilst they develop their strategic plan; this will help ensure that the plan’s aspirations are appropriate in relation to how the South West Sports Centre’s facilities will be able to support the plan into the future,” he said.
“As with all sports aligned to the Federal Government’s recently released strategy for sport, the key is to maintain and grow participation rates to support a strong sporting community and sporting culture whilst, at the same time, supporting the growing need to improve health indicators through increased physical activity.”
According to the Bunbury-Wellington Sports Facilities Plan, “further investigation” was needed to ensure the development of all indoor facilities in the South West.
The report also suggested the South West Slammers should be relocated to the South West Sports Centre to allow Eaton Recreation Centre to focus on sports development.