Hub dream closer to reality

Alicia PereraPilbara News

The Wickham Community Hub reference group say it is pleased to see “unambiguously” positive progress being made on the long-awaited town project, with guarantees for all funding now secured and construction due to start by the end of the year.

Contrary to a report in The Pilbara News two weeks ago, while the City of Karratha is still waiting on the outcome of a $4.5 million funding application to the Commonwealth Building Better Regions Fund, at a meeting on May 29 it voted in favour of the City covering the shortfall should the money not come through.

Wickham Community Hub reference group head Richard Goscombe said he was heartened to see councillors unanimously vote to fill the funding gap if needed, meaning construction of the hub was now on the horizon after years of delays.

“We’ve reached a really significant point where even though there is a shortfall that funding applications to State and Federal government have not yet filled, the council has made a commitment to fund the shortfall to the tune of $4.61 million, which in the middle of the current downturn is a really encouraging decision by the council for the town of Wickham,” he said.

“It provides an unambiguous statement to the town council’s commitment to this community, and it is finally going to secure this essential facility.”

Reference group member Kelly Nunn said it was exciting to see plans moving forward for the hub, which would help retain residents in Wickham by providing a modern and purpose-built space for community groups.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said they had decided to fill the potentially more than $4 million funding gap if necessary, as well as select builders for the main hub and water play area.

“The City is still awaiting funding decisions on Royalties for Regions and the Commonwealth Building Better Regions Fund, however council is committed to progressing the hub project although it may be necessary to adjust the scope if there is a funding shortfall,” he said.

Cr Long said the City was in a “strong financial position” from which it could draw the $4.11 million without costing ratepayers more. Construction of the water play area is due to begin in the coming months.

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