The first sod was officially turned at Lathlain Park today, marking a landmark occasion for the West Coast Eagles, Perth Football Club and the Town of Victoria Park community.

Dignitaries representing the Town of Victoria Park, Federal and State Governments gathered on site to celebrate the start of an exciting journey that has been many years in the planning.

Club chairman Alan Cransberg said it was an historic moment for all parties involved.

“This is the result of an exceptional partnership between the Club, the Town of Victoria Park and the Perth Football Club,” Cransberg said.

“I should also acknowledge that we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the great support of the State and Federal Governments. Each has invested $10 million to help develop the wonderful community infrastructure, including the new ovals, which will form a substantial part of Zone 3 of the precinct. Both governments are committed to revitalising the precinct and delivering an outstanding outcome for community.

“For the West Coast Eagles, this is a massive decision, probably the biggest decision we’ve made. We’ve been at Subiaco Oval since our inception and now we are moving out here for probably the next 80-90 years. We will build world class facilities, but we are very focused on making sure that many of those facilities will be available to the community.”

Cransberg also praised the Federal Government for contributing an additional $3 million to relocate the Wirrpanda Foundation to the site.

He said the organisation would flourish at its new permanent headquarters.

Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons MP said the redevelopment was in keeping with the Government’s commitment to creating a strong, diverse national economy.

“The Australian Government is committed to delivering jobs, productivity and improvements in economic growth to all Australians, and to achieve this the Australian Government is enacting more than $50 billion in key infrastructure projects across Australia,” Irons said.

“The Lathlain Park redevelopment as a whole will drive local jobs and growth in Victoria Park. It will create 53 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction phase and is expected to retain 67 full-time jobs as a direct result of the project. The new site will provide innovative, purpose-built spaces, setting new standards for community and recreational facilities.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Housing, Racing and Gaming Colin Holt MLC believed the precinct would benefit the wider Western Australian community.

“It’s a $10 million commitment that the State Government is happy to make and it makes it easier to make when you have partnerships like the ones that have been established between the Perth Demons, the West Coast Eagles and the Town of Victoria Park,” he said.

“It’s those sorts of partnerships that are going to propel our sport, city and State forward.”

Town of Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said the project was the realisation of a dream he first envisioned for Lathlain Park some 13 years ago.

He believed the burgeoning precinct would become the centrepiece of the Town of Victoria Park.

“This project is going to be so good for our community,” Vaughan said.

“It will be a fantastic area for people to come and enjoy. Hopefully the training facilities will also get the West Coast Eagles to a few more grand finals. We look forward to continuing our work with the West Coast Eagles and Perth Football Club.”