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Freo's New Elite Training and Administration Facility

December 21, 2012 11:19 AM

MEDIA: ETAF Announcement City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and President Steve Harris explains the terms of the new ETAF situated in Cockburn Central West.
Freo Dockers to establish new facility at Cockburn Central West, maintain presence in Fremantle

The Fremantle Dockers Football Club will sign a heads of agreement with the City of Cockburn to develop its new elite training and administration facility (ETAF) at a 26,000sqm green field site at Cockburn Central West after the club’s board resolved at the 18 December Board Meeting that it was the preferred location for the project.

Fremantle president Steve Harris said the ETAF would be located within a minimum $107 million development in the City of Cockburn and integrated with its state-of-the-art regional aquatic and recreation centre at Cockburn Central West.

“In conjunction with a range of stakeholders, we have been working on this project for more than four years and, after an extensive due diligence process, we have reached a decision that the board believes is in the best long-term interests of the club and best meets the needs of our players, members, supporters, stakeholders and the community,” Harris said.

“The international standard and scale of the facilities at Cockburn Central West will be world class and place the club at the absolute forefront of integrated elite sporting and community facilities in Australia.

“The joint project involving the City of Cockburn, the Fremantle Dockers and potentially Curtin University will, in time, garner a national reputation as a revolutionary model for integrated elite sporting and community facilities.

“It is a revolutionary model because it will see the development of a regional sport, health and education precinct that is able to attract and integrate with an elite sports club.”

Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the development.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou welcomed today’s announcement.

“Fremantle’s proposed partnership with the City of Cockburn is a terrific opportunity and will see the club have access to enhanced training and administrative facilities as part of an exciting new recreational centre that will benefit the growing local community,” Demetriou said.

“At the same time, I’m pleased to see the Dockers will maintain strong links with their Fremantle heartland.”

Harris said the new facility, which has a planned completion date of 2016-2017, presented an outstanding opportunity for the club to gain an advantage over its rivals in the demanding and competitive AFL landscape.

“When the club opened its current training and administration facility at Fremantle Oval in November 2000, the facilities were regarded as one of the better club facilities in the AFL,” Harris said.

“However, given the advances in the past decade nationally and internationally in technology and sports science, and an increase in the competitive landscape of the AFL, the club’s current facilities are now well behind the AFL benchmark.

“In addition to the Cockburn Central West site allowing for the development of a world-class training and administration facility not seen previously in Australia, the site, which is within the greater Fremantle Region, provides greater prospects for future expansion, community engagement and supporter interaction.”

The proposed new facilities at the Cockburn Central West site include the provision for larger elite football and administration facilities for the club of more than 6000sqm plus green space, with the club also having exclusive or priority access at designated times to facilities including but not limited to:

• AFL standard oval and access to a second oval
• 50 metre, 10 lane outdoor competition swimming pool
• 25 metre indoor swimming pool
• Hydrotherapy pool and aquatic recovery pools
• Regional multipurpose indoor training and sporting centre, including six highball courts
• Dedicated multimedia facility for the Fremantle Dockers and the local community
• Sports store, including a Fremantle Dockers’ retail outlet
• Supporter facilities (with the exact nature and size of these facilities to be determined in the next stage of design)
Additional community facilities in the current scope of the project include:
• Running and walking tracks
• Café
• Playground and picnic areas
• Health and wellness facilities, including wellness and fitness studio, gymnasium, activity rooms, rehabilitation facilities and sports medicine facilities
• Meeting and conference rooms
• Administration offices for community organisations
• Elite training facilities for local and regionally-based elite athletes
• Local community meeting and flexible space
• Community function centre,  including community meeting and program space
• Curtin University education and research facilities

Harris said that developing a modern and world-class elite training and administration facility was a key component of the club’s strategic plan, and in accordance with the club’s stated aim of achieving sustained success on and off the field.

“We are growing as a club and the green field Cockburn Central West development provides the Fremantle Dockers with the best opportunity to secure sustained success on and off the field, and will enable the club to better meet the long-term needs of our players, members, supporters, sponsors and the community.

“A significant amount, up to $65 million, of the overall cost of the new facility would be covered by a direct contribution by the City of Cockburn. At this stage we expect the club’s direct contribution to the project, which can be met without going into debt, to be in the order of $10 million, including $1 million from the AFL.

“Because it is in a high growth area, and given the community focus of the development, we believe the Cockburn Central West option also presents better opportunities to secure State and Federal government funding.”

Harris said as the due diligence process for both Fremantle Oval and Cockburn Central West progressed it became quite clear that the case for relocating the club’s operations at Cockburn Central West was a compelling one.

“In addition to the club’s operating costs at Cockburn Central West being less when compared to redeveloping at Fremantle Oval, the Cockburn Central West option allows for our club to have access to a bigger indoor training facility, bigger and better aquatic facilities and provides for access to a second oval,” he said.

“It is a green field site, so there is likely to be less planning uncertainty and there will be no facility transition costs or interruption to club operations as there would be under the Fremantle Oval master plan options.

“Operating costs at the Cockburn Central West site will also be lower because we are sharing the City of Cockburn’s sporting and aquatic facilities with the community. This is also a great result for the community.”

The Cockburn Central West site, bounded by North Lake Road, Midgegooroo Avenue, Beeliar Drive and Poletti Road, is highly accessible being 500m from the Cockburn Central train station and in close proximity to the Kwinana Freeway. The site is the same distance from the new Perth Stadium at Burswood as Fremantle Oval and is in the Federal electorate of Fremantle.

Recent developments in the area include substantial commercial and residential projects, including high density housing and a retail precinct, and the $38 million Cockburn Integrated Health and Community Facility.

Harris said the board was well aware of the significance of the decision to relocate the club’s training and administration facilities to the Cockburn Central West site.

“Given our club’s traditional and historical links to Fremantle Oval, there is no question about the significance of the decision to locate our core operations away from Fremantle Oval, and this was carefully considered throughout the decision-making process,” he said.

“However, while we are moving our core operations for administration and football, we are not leaving Fremantle.

“We will now work with the City of Fremantle to prepare a plan for the redevelopment of the club’s existing facility at Fremantle Oval, including an ongoing presence by the Freo Dockers at Fremantle Oval for sporting, community, retail and commercial purposes,” he said.

Harris also said he wanted to reassure all members, supporters and sponsors that the new Cockburn Central West project would not lead to the club changing its name.

“It’s only two years ago that we successfully completed lengthy negotiations with Levi Strauss to have the legal right to call ourselves the Fremantle Dockers, and we have absolutely no intention of changing our name from the Fremantle Dockers either now or in the future,” he said.

“AFL powerhouse clubs such as Collingwood and Hawthorn have, in recent times, relocated their training and administration facilities away from their traditional suburban homes and not changed their names or brand.

“We see no reason and have no intention of even considering changing our name from the Fremantle Dockers. We are and will always be known as the Fremantle Dockers.”

Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the development.

Harris also confirmed that Curtin University is considering establishment of educational and research activities at Cockburn Central West as part of this new world-class project.

“This would involve expanded educational facilities in the integrated recreation, community and education precinct, thereby expanding education opportunities and use of the precinct.”

The architectural plans, perspectives and frequently asked questions will be on display in the club’s foyer and on the club’s website for members and the general public to view.

Key Facts and Figures – Cockburn Central West

1. The  City of Cockburn is a significantly growing municipality within the greater Fremantle region, with the city's population forecast to grow:
• From 94,377 to 117,923 in 2022.
• From 35,870 to 46,203 dwellings.
• An increase of more than 25 per cent over a 10-year timeframe.
2. The Cockburn Central West site is less than 20 minutes drive from Fremantle and is the same distance as Fremantle Oval from the new Perth Stadium.
3. The Cockburn Central West site is a developing residential and business precinct that will see significant government investment in the next 10 years.
4. The Cockburn Central West site will allow for the development of a world class ETAF along with the provision for future expansion.
5. According to the State Government’s Directions 2031 document, Cockburn’s population will be 130,000-plus by 2031.
  
 
Key Facts and Figures – ETAF Project

1. The  Fremantle Dockers’ world-class elite training and administration facility  (ETAF) is to be located on a 26,000sqm green field site at Cockburn Central West within the City of Cockburn.
2. The club’s ETAF is to be integrated with the City of Cockburn’s state-of-the-art regional aquatic and recreation centre development to create a minimum $107 million project.
3. The club will have exclusive or priority access at designated times to international standard facilities, including a 50 metre, 10 lane outdoor competition swimming pool, 25 metre indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool and aquatic recovery pools, six indoor highball courts for indoor training and AFL standard oval.
4. The Fremantle Dockers expected direct contribution to the project is $10 million, including $1 million from the AFL.
5. Preliminary estimates suggest that the world-class joint facility will receive more than 600,000 visitors a year.

LOCATION DESTINATION EST. TRAVEL TIME DISTANCE




Background

The decision to locate the club’s ETAF at Cockburn Central West follows a process that started in 2008 when the club committed to establishing a new and improved training and administration base for the club. In 2009, the club formally commenced work on a master plan for the Fremantle Oval precinct to address the issue that the club’s existing facilities were “disjointed” and well below benchmarks set by rival AFL clubs.

Completed in February 2011, the master plan provided a possible solution for locating the Fremantle Football Club, South Fremantle Football Club (SFFC) and the University of Notre Dame Australia’s (UNDA) health sciences faculty at Fremantle Oval.

As part of its due diligence, and prior to finalising any plans for the Fremantle Oval master plan, the club identified a short list of potential alternative sites within the greater Fremantle region that included Murdoch University and a 26,000sqm site in the City of Cockburn known as Cockburn Central West and bounded by North Lake Road, Midgegooroo Avenue, Beeliar Drive and Poletti Road.

Following further analysis from November 2011 through to June 2012 and additional discussions with the SFFC, City of Fremantle, UNDA and the City of Cockburn, the board resolved that the club investigate further the redevelopment of Fremantle Oval and the potential of the site at Cockburn Central West as the preferred location of the club’s new elite training and administration facility (ETAF).

As a result of further investigations undertaken since June 2012, including comparing the cost of progressing the Fremantle Oval master plan as opposed to establishing the club’s training and administration operations at Cockburn Central West, the board resolved to pursue the latter as the preferred site for the club’s new ETAF.

Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the development.