TUESDAY night’s Hakoah meeting should have been a proud night for the board as it unveiled the plan for the White City site, which includes a full-sized football field, an aquatic centre, a new Hakoah club, an indoor sporting facility and a child-care centre.
But instead the meeting started with what was described as “an unprecedented attack on JCA and communal leaders” from outgoing president Phil Filler and degenerated from there.
The meeting was largely a verbal stoush between Hakoah, JCA, Maccabi NSW, former Hakoah board members and Hakoah’s lawyer, who resigned two hours before the meeting.
Filler used his last address as president to launch a scathing attack on the JCA and the JCA appointees to the White City Working Party (WCWP), which was set up last year to develop a plan for the White City site, a proposal which was later rejected.
“Their (the JCA appointees to the WCWP) priority was to build a Jewish office block for the purpose of relocating Jewish offices at the expense of sporting and social facility,” Filler said.
He said Hakoah would be “abolished” under the plan by the JCA’s appointees.
“Realistically, this is an attempt to take over Hakoah’s White City asset without paying for it.
“It is interesting to note that of the 23 constituent bodies of the JCA, the presidents of only eight are members of Hakoah.”
When questions were opened up to the floor, Mark Grynberg spoke first and said he supported the Hakoah board’s plan, but then said he was disappointed in Maccabi NSW and launched another attack against the JCA.
“The JCA couldn’t care less about soccer, or sport apparently,” Grynberg said.
“I wonder if this is an organised campaign by them to take over a $16 million asset of a non-constituent organisation?”
JCA president Peter Philippsohn responded angrily.
“Phil (Filler), I have a lot of respect for you. I think you have done a fantastic job over many years. I must say I am extremely disappointed that you use your valedictory speech to attack JCA,” Philippsohn said.
He said that the working party’s plan was not a JCA plan and the JCA never planned to take over the Hakoah site.
He also rebuked the claim by Grynberg that the JCA doesn’t care about sport.
“JCA today funds Maccabi sport to the tune of $100,000 a year.”
The next person to go on the attack was Carl Reid, who resigned as the legal advisor to Hakoah only two hours before the meeting.
He said the plan that was unveiled looked beautiful but had no regard for the site’s development control plans or heritage requirements.
“The chance of that beautiful, wonderful complex ever coming to fruition is about zero,” Reid said.
He said one of the residents’ major concerns was traffic and the proposal would see the traffic triple or quadruple and all go through one entrance, on Alma Road.
“The simple fact is that in my humble opinion what this club will end up with and the members will end up with is a full-sized soccer field with a grandstand and nothing else.”
Reid said he was shocked by Filler’s opening address to members.
“We’ve just heard an unprecedented attack on JCA and communal leaders, the same people who will be asked to put their hands in their pockets.”
Andrew Boyarsky, who resigned from the board last year over the handling of the White City development said “The dream without the reality will only ever be just a dream”.
He said the plan that was released on Tuesday night is the previous plan for White City “on steroids”.
“They can’t even tell you how much it costs.
“They don’t have any more development guys on the board to help with the process.”
The White City site.