Kevin Rudd was eager to please WA when first he got in as Prime Minister – it is said Infrastructure Australia’s approval of the cash to sink the Fremantle line and create Perth City Link (to house 1000s and ultimately direct 16,000 users of the Link to the trains and bus station underneath each day) occurred because Rudd wished it.
In fact IA decided to throw in the extra $30m to sink that Wellington Street bus station – but the goodies didn’t end there.
Rudd brought his “community cabinet” meetings to Perth – and that’s when former Mayor Joe Delle Donne pounced and got his millions for Canning.
How did he do it? He secured himself a seat in the audience and just stood up and asked for the money to finally build Canning’s state of the art new Leisureplex. At an anticipated cost of $37 million, the City was short of what was needed. It would have taken years more in savings, and the vagaries of the grant process otherwise.
Being a 30 year Western Power veteran, and strongly concerned the City became more energy-efficient than it had been, Mr Delle Donne also wanted to ensure the Leisureplex would have geothermal heating at point of build – still the only council in WA today to have achieved this distinction – saving us millions in retrofitting costs, as we are having to bear now to install geothermal heating in to Canning’s other Leisureplex in Riverton.
Rudd was pretty amused, by all accounts, but did start the process off by getting Mr Delle Donne and then Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese together, one thing led to another, and with the help of Federal Member for Brand, Gary Gray, another seven and a half million was secured.
The Barnett Govt then threw in $2 million and the project was a “go” – fully paid for at point of construction and on its way to a high level of energy efficiency.
Mr Delle Donne and former Deputy Mayor Bruce Mason also requested the administration install solar panels and other efficiencies – currently underway.
Some audacity there, Mr Delle Donne! Canning’s new Leisureplex recently took out a gong at the Parks and Leisure WA Awards.
As to the question on a lot of lips (and mayoral candidates) in Canning – will Joe Delle Donne run again for Mayor? well, we’ll know within a week.