Cockburn ARC a facility for the times

Published on Mon 29 May 2017 10:41am

The project was first secured with a commitment of $10 million from the federal Labor government, announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in June 2013. Now, four years later, it is a reality and the centre’s pools, gyms, ovals and hard courts will serve a catchment of more than 200,000 residents in the south metro region.

Mr Wilson (10:41am) — Friday before last I attended the launch of the Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre, or ARC, a comprehensive sports and health facility right in the heart of the fastest-growing section of the Fremantle electorate. It is beautifully designed, both in form and function. I know it will make a huge difference as a focal point for community building, youth engagement and preventative health. Put simply, the ARC will improve the quality of life for people in my electorate.

The project was first secured with a commitment of $10 million from the federal Labor government, announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in June 2013. Now, four years later, it is a reality and the centre’s pools, gyms, ovals and hard courts will serve a catchment of more than 200,000 residents in the south metro region. It joins a suite of Labor supported community assets in the vibrant hub that is Cockburn Central, a precinct whose emergence began with the visionary Perth-Mandurah rail line and whose evolution was kickstarted with a Liveable Cities grant from the Labor government in 2012.

Cockburn Central was born out of a partnership between a local government that could see the great merit in developing a high-quality transport-oriented strategic centre and a federal Labor government that understood the importance of smart community infrastructure. Under Labor’s GP super clinic program, core health services were provided in the form of the Cockburn integrated health and community facility and, under Labor’s social housing initiative, the Living Space development created an innovative combination of social housing, shared equity dwellings and private apartments.

All these pieces of the mosaic have come together in a relatively short time. It is not surprising that there have been some growing pains or challenges along the way, especially with regard to local traffic. In response to these congestion issues, the WA Labor government and local federal members like me and the member for Burt have worked to secure funding to build the North Lake Road bridge, widen the freeway northbound from Russell Road and build the Thornlie to Cockburn rail connection in the time ahead.

While the Abbott-Turnbull government has largely abandoned the fight against climate change, I am heartened by the way local communities and their local governments are doing what they can to shoulder this critical work. The Cockburn ARC includes what I understand to be the largest roof-mounted solar array in Australia, comprising more than 3,800 panels as part of a one-megawatt system. It will achieve yearly savings of $300,000 in power costs and it will offset 1,170 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. What is more, the ARC’s seven swimming pools will be heated by a 1.2 kilometre geothermal bore. Last but not least, the ARC is the new training ground headquarters for the mighty Fremantle Dockers, whose descent into the dreaded rebuilding phase has been greatly exaggerated.

The ARC is a triumph. I want to acknowledge and pay tribute to the vision, hard work, courage and persistence of the City of Cockburn, its Mayor Logan Howlett, and its council and officers, who together have brought this remarkable project to fruition.

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