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March 22, 2023

Ballina to plan for $5 million sports centre

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Ballina Shire Council will begin drawing up plans for a four-court sports complex and ‘hope’ funding will be made available from either the state or federal governments.

And while the expected cost of a sports and cultural centre has previously been as high as $12 million, the council is now setting its sights a little lower, with a $5 million price tag being discussed for a standalone sports cente.

The council yesterday backed a notice of motion from Cr Ben Smith to begin designing a centre to be located at either Gallens Road or the Southern Cross Industrial Estate.

Cr Smith noted that the council has had funds set aside for three terms for the design and development application for a centre but had been holding back, waiting for funding.

He said demand for an indoor sports centre continued to grow, with the sports gym at Southern Cross School under pressure.

‘Approximately 15 of the 52 weeks are either unavailable or partly unavailable for sports hire due to increasing usage by the school,’ he said.

‘Additionally, sports like basketball in Ballina have continued to grow, the men’s competition was split across two nights last year as otherwise the last game for the night would have started past midnight.

Cr Smith said there was little point delaying the project while waiting for federal government funding.

‘Additionally, while state funding from a potential poles and wires sale may or may not eventuate, it’s clear that council will come across no windfall from the state government any time soon and the promise of free depot site land is unlikely to eventuate.

Ballina mayor David Wright told Echonetdaily that the council was still holding out hope that funding would soon become available.

In the meantime, Cr Wright said councillors would be visiting Casino to inspect the sporting complex Richmond Valley Council had built for $3 million.

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