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Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

Pollies race to announce Wollongbar sports field opening

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L to R: Page MP Kevin Hogan, Ballina Mayor David Wright and Nationals MLC Ben Franklin at the Wollongbar sports field opening on Tuesday (April 24). Photo supplied

The Wollongbar community are winners this week, with the opening of a $6.3 million sports fields, mostly funded by the federal government and the announcement of 96 ‘affordable housing incentives’ provided by Ballina Shire Council.

But the only competition on the fields on Tuesday was between the pollies jostling to announce it.

While federal Page MP Kevin Hogan (Nationals) officially opened the sporting facilities, together with Ballina Mayor David a state government additional grant of $25,000 towards the construction of netball courts provided gave state Nationals MLC Ben Franklin a chance to jump in on the photo op.

But not to be outdone, Ballina state Greens MP Tamara Smith sent out her own media release on the back of a grant of $5,000 to the Wollongbar-Alstonville Rugby Club from the Local Sport Grant Program for player jerseys and training shirts.

The new grounds include: one AFL field/cricket oval, two rugby grounds with lighting; six tennis courts with lighting; four sealed netball courts (with lighting for two); separate facilities for rugby/AFL, cricket, netball and tennis clubhouse; extensive landscaping to the site and surrounding areas; car parking for 292 vehicles and bus parking

Mr Hogan said he hoped ‘everyone in the community takes advantage of these fantastic new sporting facilities.

‘The sports fields are part of a broader plan to help provide the necessary community infrastructure for 800 affordable homes within the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area,’ he added.

‘Wollongbar was already one of the best places to live and now, with these new sports facilities, it’s just got better.’

Mr Hogan said the Federal Government had provided $4.5 million towards the development of the Wollongbar Sports Fields.

In return, Ballina Shire Council was required to fund incentives for eligible homebuyers to purchase affordable housing.

Ballina Shire Council delivered 96 affordable housing incentives in Wollongbar of $25,000 each, totalling $2.4 million.

Ms Smith said the sports fields had been ‘a long time in the planning together with Ballina Shire Council,’ adding the local community would be ‘immensely grateful to have this tremendous facility open for public use’.

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