Bunbury United SC urging City of Bunbury to help maintain existing facilities

Taking a stand: Withers Progress Association secretary Tammy Hermon, Withers Progress Association chairperson Mary Dunlop, Bunbury United Soccer Club president Sam Riachi, and Bunbury United Soccer Club project officer Marina Quain. Photo: Thomas Munday.
Taking a stand: Withers Progress Association secretary Tammy Hermon, Withers Progress Association chairperson Mary Dunlop, Bunbury United Soccer Club president Sam Riachi, and Bunbury United Soccer Club project officer Marina Quain. Photo: Thomas Munday.

Members of the Bunbury United Soccer Club have raised concerns over the future of their Hay Park premises.

The facilities - comprised of the Soccerdrome, bar and kitchen, communal toilets and showers, and the community hall - were initially earmarked for demolition by the City of Bunbury back in 2011.

The decision was in line with gaining Royalties for Regions funding to build the Hay Park South Pavilion.

The pavilion was built in 2016, and neighbours the Bunbury United SC. It is now occupied by the Hay Park Soccer Club and the South West Phoenix Football Club.

The city had planned for the Bunbury United SC to relocate to the pavilion once its facilities had been demolished.

Bunbury United SC president Sam Riachi and project officer Marina Quain said the pavilion does not have the capacity to hold three clubs at once.

Mr Riachi and Ms Quain also said the club would like to keep its original premises. The committee is now campaigning for:

  • An extension to the clubrooms to house female ablutions (showers, toilets, change area), with funding sought from the Department of Sport and Recreation's Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund;
  • A shelter/patio on the eastern side of the clubrooms overlooking the premier pitch, with funding sought from Healthways;
  • An entrance from the shelter into the clubrooms;
  • A newly refurbished roof over the clubrooms and community hall, and;
  • Fencing/gates along Washington Avenue and around the open drain near Hay Park South.

The facilities are regularly utilised by a range of sporting and community groups, including the Country Coastal Junior Soccer Association and Football Federation South West.

The Bunbury United SC now wants to sign a long-term lease (21 years) and take over all maintenance duties from the city.

In addition, the club would like to see more support from the city in regards to funding for future projects.

"There is roughly 50 years of history inside these walls...this facility was built by the community, for the community," Mr Riachi and Ms Quain said.

"We have been in contact with multiple Bunbury City councillors...some of them have offered to table a motion at council.

"One of them would like for the city to bring the facilities back up to scratch, and then hand them back to the community."

Withers Progress Association chairperson Mary Dunlop and secretary Tammy Hermon are also speaking out against any future plans for demolition.

"These facilities are invaluable...the city is showing a serious dereliction of duty, when it comes to safety and the community," Ms Dunlop said.

"It would be unconscionable if these facilities were to disappear, and there was nothing to replace them."

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said Bunbury United SC's facilities should be refurbished instead of being demolished.

Mr Punch is encouraging the club, the city, and local community to come together and reach a fair agreement.

"Our population is going to grow again...people are flocking into Bunbury and the South-West to live," he said.

"We need every sporting facility we can get...and I believe our existing facilities need continuing investment."

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said the city would continue to communicate with the club and other organisations in the area.

"The city has committed to assess the structural integrity of the building, and the growth and needs of soccer, before making any recommendations on the future of the building," he said.

"The club has put forward some suggestions for future development, but at this stage they have not been supported due to the timing of the application and competing with other higher priority grant funding applications from the city.

"Any decisions to potentially relocate Bunbury United SC will be made in consultation with the club, however the original design of the facility [Hay Park South Pavilion] is adequately equipped to meet the needs of, and allows for, an additional club.

"There will be further discussions with the club and key stakeholders before any decision is made."

Mr Brennan said the city was committed to funding numerous facility/infrastructure upgrades at Hay Park over the next few years.

"Construction of the new Hay Park North Multi Sports Pavilion is due to start before the end of this year," he said.

"In addition, the quotation process for the South West Sports Centre Feasibility and Concept Plans are under way and this project may have an impact on facilities at Hay Park.

"City of Bunbury's sporting facilities at Hay Park and across the entire city are crucial for the community's health and social well-being.

"The maintenance, upgrades and expansion of sporting facilities form a major part of the city's annual budgets and its long term financial plan."