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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Some tries but no goals yet at sports fields

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MAYDAY – MAYDAY – One hundred years ago today

One hundred years ago this week, around noon on Saturday 14 May 1921, the 2,000 tonne steamship Wollongbar ran aground on Belongil beach.

Chris Dobney

The saga of Byron Shire’s beleaguered Sports and Cultural Complex continues, with the council further delaying the appointment of a manager for the multipurpose venue.

The council has kicked some tries, however, voting on Friday to engage an independent expert to examine the ‘playability’ of the fields.

A council spokesperson said he hoped this would ‘allay… community concern about drainage’.

The spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘We’re hopeful of making an appointment by the end of the week’.

‘[The expert] will assess the drainage at the site and compare it with the original design requirements that have long been on the public record. Beyond that, they will also investigate whether there is an issue with the playability of the turf, separate to the complex’s location and the amount of rain we’ve had so far this year,’ the spokesperson said.

Byron mayor Jan Barham also got up a resolution creating a community advisory committee to provide input on the multipurpose facility.

‘The group will include three community representatives: one from the Byron Catchment Community, Sporting and Recreation Working Group, and two from the wider Byron Shire community. Council will write to the Working Group seeking a nomination, while advertising for the two other places,’ the spokesperson said.

‘After receiving the nominations, staff anticipate reporting to councillors about this issue so they can make the final appointments.

‘The committee’s role will be to provide input to centre management. But ultimately, the centre will be run by the party appointed to do that job by council.’

And while the issue of centre management remains unresolved, the good news in that the council remains in discussions with several interested parties.

Council’s spokesperson assured Echonetdaily that discussions regarding centre management won’t have a bearing on the opening date.

‘In the meantime, staff have been appointed to ensure the multipurpose facility can be opened to the community once a schedule has been negotiated that balances the needs of the more than 30 groups who have expressed a desire to use facility. Council is obviously keen to accommodate as many groups as possible to use the facility at suitable times, and so we’re holding discussions with those groups now,’ he said.

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  1. WTF! After all the cost, all the consultants and “experts”, all the BS spouted, it looks as though we really have a white elephant on our hands. And ratepayers will be forced to pay for more expensive consultants and “experts” to fix the problems created by either the architects, the original drainage consultants, or the contractors.
    Surely the contracts BSC signed with these dorks had performance guarantees attached …i.e. that the playing fields will be substantially dry and suitable for use no more than X hours after Y mm of rain has fallen. If not, why not? Why isn’t Council going after these contractors? How is it that ratepayers have to for the bill (again) for their ineptitude?

  2. This is exactly the kind of double talk that gives bureaucrats a bad name.
    The fields are unplayable long after the Rec Grounds have dried out.
    Will council take resposibility for the broken legs after they declare a sodden field playable?
    I walked on themain field after 6 days of clear skies and sank 8cm into the turf.
    Imagine what 300 gallping footballers would do to it!
    Then there is the drainage pond behind the goals with a 2m fence to keep the balls out. Will Council replace lost balls or assume liability for injuries incurred retrieving them.
    Regardless of how these problems developed, or who is responsible, denying they are problems will not make the fields playable.
    Stop the ducking and dodging and fix them.
    This has become pythonesque debacle.


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