Cuts loom for basketball

Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

Members of the Busselton Basketball Association say teams will need to be cut this year, given the perceived lack of resources committed to the sport in the City of Busselton’s master plan released last month.

A report conducted by an independent consultant last year identified the need for one extra court in Dunsborough, which the City is now considering to factor into long-term budgeting.

But Basketball Association president Gary Stokes said the “one court” would be nothing more than a “token gesture”, which left the club’s greater needs widely unaddressed and would lead to players being barred from competing in coming years.

“One token court across the 203 teams we’ve got just doesn’t stack up,” Mr Stokes said.

“We’re now seriously considering the option of reducing the number of teams by 35 per cent, which translates to 500 kids not being able to play sport purely because we can’t service them.”

Community and Commercial Services director Naomi Searle said the City would continue exploring “a number of options ... in order to meet their (the association’s) immediate and more long- term goals”.

In the short term, the City is looking at ways to maximise usage at the Geographe Leisure Centre and Naturaliste Community Centre as well as the schools, noting that the courts at GLC are currently only being utilised at around 50 per cent of their available time,” she said.

“This may involve scheduling games later at the GLC, even if this means keeping the courts open beyond the usual operating hours of the facility, and increasing overall usage times at GLC and NCC to include games on Saturdays and Sundays.”

However, Mr Stokes said such plans demonstrated the “naivety” of the City in what it took to run the club.

“Running fixtures more than three times a week is not possible for parents or for admin, for that matter,” he said.

“From a resourcing point of view, we’d then need admin services to run something like seven days a week and that’s just not possible.”

Mr Stokes also shut down ideas to use school courts more often, citing multiple occasions where the unavailability of such courts had severely disrupted the season, while pointing out the safety and playing equipment available was “marginal at best”.

A three-court expansion at the GLC will be considered in the far future and while Mr Stokes said the association would be willing to contribute funds, he wasn’t optimistic about any kind of real progress being made for many years.

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