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WACA redevelopment gets green light

WACA Chairman Terry Waldron has flagged the possibility of WAFL football returning to the iconic venue, upon the completion of the redevelopment of the ground in 2023.

It comes after the state government committed 30 million dollars to the WACA Ground Improvement Project, the final piece of the puzzle to make the project possible.

In addition to this investment, the Federal Government has committed $30 million towards the Project, Cricket Australia will provide $4 million and the WACA will raise another $10 million through the WA Cricket Foundation.

Waldron, chair of the WACA since September 2019 was delighted to have the wheels now firmly in motion for the project.

“Without state government funding, we wouldn’t have been able to go ahead with the project, but now it’s all steam ahead,” Waldron told Sports Drive on Monday.

“It’s great news for our members, cricket players and supporters right across the state, because it means we can really revitalise the WACA and have it play a key role for cricket, but it gives us flexibility to do some other things as well which is what we need do in this day and age.”

Waldron was thankful for the support of the Federal and State governments, recognising the importance of the venue in the community.

“The government recognised the uniqueness and the rich history of the WACA ground,” he said.

“Even if you’re not a cricketer, everyone knows the WACA, it’s got that real history and tradition to it. I think they realised with the development in East Perth we are looking to include the community a lot more.

“We’re trying to make it more community friendly. I think that appealed to the government.”

The redevelopment is likely to commence later this year or early in 2021, with the WACA exploring the possibility of an aquatic facility into the WACA Ground Improvement Project plans, including a 50-metre pool, a learn to swim pool and a leisure slide.

The ground will be reshaped as a 10,000-boutique venue, Waldron confirming plans for WAFL football to return once the redevelopment has been completed.

“We’re taking the ground out and extending it again so it can accommodate football, there’s nothing concrete but we have had talks with the WA Football Commission, there has been talks with a couple of WAFL clubs,” he said.

“We want to make the venue viable so that football can utilise it. We’ve discussed some possible opportunities going forward. It’s not just at WAFL level either, there’s other levels of football that could utilise the ground.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage the state of Victoria, Waldron unsurprisingly confirmed the state cricket body’s interest in hosting India as part of their series down under later this year.

“We’ve put our hand up to host any of the Indian Test matches, we’ve put our hand up to be a hub, should there be a (quarantine) hub required.”

“My feeling is there’s every chance we could get an Indian Test now, however there’s nothing concrete about that, it is one of the possibilities.

“It could be an earlier Test than the Boxing Day Test, depending on the governments, the Indian Government and the Australian Government. The two countries want the series to happen. I’m confident India will come, it just depends how it’s structured.”

Optus Stadium is also set to host Afghanistan in a one off Test in November.

IMAGE: WACA website.

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