One of Katanning’s biggest sporting clubs has asked the local council for a six-figure loan after a major project went over budget. The Katanning Country Club is seeking a $250,000 loan from the Shire of Katanning to enable the club to complete the conversion of its clubrooms into a new function centre. Former club president and project manager David Stade presented at a council meeting on April 28 as part of the organisation’s push for the funding. He told councillors the $2.5 million redevelopment project would not be for the benefit of the club alone. “We are building a function venue there rather than a clubhouse and we are hoping that will be an asset for the whole community, not just the club,” Mr Stade said. Mr Stade told councillors the club was likely to face a $248,000 shortfall as a result of the project, but would push ahead with its completion. “The overspend represents 10 per cent of total expenditure but it also represents a whole lot of stuff that we needed to do as opposed to wanted to do,” he said. “It ensures that the club is future-proofed going forward by having facilities that are finished and dealt with, and hopefully we won’t be spending more money in the future.” The club wants to repay the loan in $30,000 instalments over 10 years. Mr Stade said the club would “easily” pay off the loan by hosting major events and increasing membership fees. There was concern among some councillors about the size and length of the loan, with deputy president John Goodheart noting that the council would be requesting the loan from WA Treasury Corporation on the club’s behalf and would be financially responsible. “We need to be 100 per cent sure that if you are talking about 10 years to repay it, that there is a will and a gumption from within the four sports that you have down there that the debt will continue to be serviced for the full period and it is not going to fall back on our ratepayers,” Mr Goodheart told Mr Stade. “I just can’t see myself walking down the street and having ratepayers wanting to have my neck in a sling because we have approved something not being 100 per cent convinced that you have got the capacity to repay.” Mr Stade told Mr Goodheart the loan would be serviced like any other expense incurred by the club. “If we’ve got a $30,000 loan repayment we’ve got to make, then that is something that is put into the budget and the sports will need to cover that as well as the management committee, and that’s the leap of faith you will need to make in the Country Club, that we can generate that extra income,” he said. Mr Stade had earlier noted the four sports based at the KCC did not operate separate financial accounts and could only access club funds with the approval of the management committee. Mr Goodheart also wanted guarantees that the loan would be enough to get the project over the line. Mr Stade accepted there would be small costs including landscaping after the completion of the centre but anticipated they would be covered by operational revenue. Councillor Kirsty D’Aprile asked Mr Stade whether the club had explored other funding options, including asking the community for donations. Mr Stade said there were other opportunities to raise funds, but they had not asked the broader community and would prefer JUnot to. “We have talked about hitting up members again,” he said. “We have saved a great deal of money over this $2.5m through volunteer labour and the contributions of some members has been enormous, and that’s over the $150,000 mark.” Councillors were guided through the under-construction facility by Mr Stade and other club members on April 27. He thanked councillors for their support of the project. “I imagine this has been a very arduous experience for you all but we’re getting close to the end,” Mr Stade said. The KCC is the town’s home of four different sports: golf, tennis, squash and lawn bowls. Councillors voted behind closed doors at the April meeting to approve an increase in the JUcost of the tender for the project’s construction. The Herald understands this was necessary due to the Shire handling the construction tender for the project. Shire president Liz Guidera said the function centre would JUbe “a really exciting new JUaddition” to the facilities in Katanning. “I understand that the scope creep or change has presented a whole heap of challenges but I have to say going up there and having a look, I was very pleased with the changes and feel that … you actually make it flow a lot better and provide a better venue for what you are trying to do,” she told members of the club in the public gallery. Ms Guidera noted the club was providing “first-class facilities” for sports in the town and said the council would support the club “in the best way we can”. Speaking after the meeting, KCC chairman Ian Hanna said there were several factors behind the increased price tag. “Because the build has changed, every time you change design, usually extra costs are involved but we’ve had all the additional costs with materials going up and the last couple of years with COVID and everything else that has gone on, we know everything has gone through the roof,” he said. Mr Hanna said the venue would allow the club to transform its business model and attract a wider demographic as both a social and sporting centre. “You only get a chance to do these rebuilds every so often, so you have got to make the most of it and make sure that we end up with something that is going to suit the club and the community for the next 20 or 30 years,” JUhe said. Shire chief executive Julian Murphy told the Herald the KCC redevelopment was “substantially” a council project, with the Shire making a $50,000 direct cash contribution to the project, as well allocating State and Federal funding. He said the funding arrangements for the increased costs — such as requesting a loan from WA Treasury Corporation — were yet to be decided by the council.