HAKOAH president Steven Lowy has described a $7.5 million federal government grant as a “very good shot in the arm” for the club’s redevelopment of White City.
With $47 million now acquired of the $65 million needed, it is hoped building will commence in the second half of 2021, once the balance has been raised and the Hakoah board has resolved outstanding issues pertaining to the development’s approval.
“There remains much work to be done prior to construction starting, and we are hopeful that we will be in a position to commence work on site later this year,” Lowy said.
With major donor fundraising having been paused last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lowy said that process will now resume followed by a broader community membership and fundraising drive.
“The excitement and generosity already shown by the community, and now backed by the federal government, reinforces that this community facility is sorely needed and strongly supported,” he said at Hakoah’s AGM on Sunday evening.
“This catalysing contribution gives us the impetus to launch a final fundraising effort to get the project underway.”
He told The AJN the board is engaged in a “very constructive dialogue” with Woollahra Council to work through conditions attached to a development approval that was granted last September.
“The objective is to ensure the development consent permits the completed project to operate at capacity and on a financially sustainable basis,” he said. “We can see the finish line, but we’re not there yet.”
Thanking the government and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for the funding, he also paid tribute to Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, who “embraced this project from the outset … and was instrumental” in securing the grant.
Sharma said the new Hakoah White City would be “a great piece of community infrastructure”.
“This is a really exciting project and I’m so pleased that the federal government can be contributing $7.5 million to help realise it,” he said.
The integrated sports, cultural and community venue will have two heated pools, nine tennis courts operated by Maccabi Tennis, a football field, fitness and wellness centre, and enclosed multi-use courts.
It will house spaces for community events, cultural activities, as well as meeting and function spaces, and food and beverage venues and will be open to the Jewish community and broader local community alike.
Original club member Fay Filler told the AGM, “I will be so delighted to see the club come to life again … a lively and wonderful place for families, children, parents, grandparents to meet, enjoy and have a wonderful, wonderful time.”