The West Coast Eagles Football Club has today taken one of the most significant decisions in its 27-year history.
The club has announced that it has entered into a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with the Town of Victoria Park to develop a new home for the Eagles at Lathlain Park, seven kilometres south-east of the Perth CBD.
Subject to formal contracts, the Eagles anticipate leaving their traditional Subiaco Oval home and relocating to a new training, administration and community complex at Lathlain Park before the start of the 2017 season.
The club has plans to build $50 million state-of-the-art headquarters, which will be one of the premier sporting club facilities in Australia.
An important element of the plan will be the creation of two ovals, one replicating the dimensions of the MCG and the other configured to the size of the new Perth Stadium at Burswood.
The announcement is the culmination of many years of work by the Eagles. Much research and study of best practice facilities around Australia and the world was undertaken, along with a comprehensive site identification process.
Formal negotiations with the Town of Victoria Park over recent months have led to the signing of the HOA today.
West Coast chairman Alan Cransberg said that the announcement was a culmination of many years of work by the club's executive team.
"Much research and study of best-practice facilities around Australia and the world was undertaken, along with a comprehensive site identification process.
"We have had extensive formal negotiations with the Town of Victoria Park over recent months, and this has led to the signing of the HOA today”.
West Coast Eagles chief executive officer Trevor Nisbett said that the West Coast Eagles, the Town of Victoria Park and the Perth Football Club are strongly aligned about the mutual benefits of this partnership.
“Our club has been delighted with the process and the discussions with both the Town of Victoria Park and the Perth Football Club,” Nisbett said.
“There are a number of fundamental reasons why we have agreed to relocate to Lathlain Park; not the least of them being the enthusiasm with which the project was embraced by the Town of Victoria Park.
“The West Coast Eagles’ vision is to be a powerful and sustainable football club, with its primary asset – its players – given the best possible opportunity to perform at their optimum. It was clear to my board that if the club is to build on its reputation of success, then we needed to provide our club with facilities that match or better successful clubs from the eastern states.
“The move to a new home at Lathlain Park provides a unique opportunity for the West Coast Eagles Football Club and the people of the Town of Victoria Park to set new standards of how a sporting organisation can positively impact the lives of a local community. This aspect of our agreement with the council is particularly important to the Eagles.
“Remaining at Patersons Stadium was one of the options explored, but, among other benefits, the opportunity to create two ovals for training purposes – a key element of the Lathlain Park facility – was not possible at that site.
“Importantly, as part of this new project, the club will build its long-awaited supporters’ centre, providing access and comfort for our passionate members and fans for training sessions and community events.
“Lathlain Park is, of course, the home of the Perth Football Club, and it is important to us that the Demons continue at Lathlain, which has been their home since 1959. As part of the Eagles' commitment to the Lathlain project, the Eagles will support a planned upgrade of the Perth Football Club facility, matched by similar support for the development of community facilities for the year round use by residents and families of the Town of Victoria Park,” Nisbett said.
Town of Victoria Park mayor Trevor Vaughan said the council was delighted with the decision to move into the precinct.
"The relocation of the West Coast Eagles to the Town of Victoria Park is a great achievement for the town and part of our overall strategy to lift the profile of our town and bring benefits and improvements to our community," Mayor Vaughan said.
"On behalf of the community, I welcome the Eagles to Lathlain Park and to the Town of Victoria Park.
"The town will formally consult with the residents nearby to Lathlain Park to take their feedback and input into consideration during the future planning process."
While the training and administration facility will be cutting-edge, the new headquarters will also have a strong impact on the local community, through the club’s diverse range of successful community programs and its longstanding close relationship with the David Wirrpanda Foundation.
Significantly, the foundation, which provides vital Indigenous mentoring and support services, will have its own dedicated centre within the new Eagles facility.
Importantly, for the people of the Town of Victoria Park, the new development will include a rejuvenation of the entire Lathlain Park precinct, including BBQ areas, community running/walking tracks, playgrounds and landscaped green space.
The HOA includes West Coast holding a 99-year lease on the facility and the finished project will include an Eagles' museum and a cafe/merchandise retail outlet. These facilities will all be available to the public.
WEST COAST HOME AT LATHLAIN PARK - KEY PROJECT ELEMENTS
- Two new ovals, one the size of the MCG, the other matching the dimensions of the new Perth Stadium at Burswood.
- A synthetic running track around the perimeter of one of the ovals.
- Rejuvenation of the entire Lathlain Park precinct, including BBQ areas, community running/walking tracks, playgrounds and landscaping.
- A best-practice gymnasium, aquatic recovery, medical, coaching and playing development areas.
- An indoor lap pool and large indoor training area.
- Flexible education areas, including dedicated facilities as well for the club’s community programs.
- A new home for the David Wirrpanda Foundation.
- Community hub, including a café, merchandise store and club museum.
- New and improved clubrooms, including function facility for the Perth Football Club.