Call for more sporting facilities

SPORTING clubs in the north of Byron Shire say they need more facilities to encourage young people to play sport.

President of Shores United Soccer Club president Mark Patton says his club loses revenue when it is forced to transfer matches to towns with better facilities.

"I have already had to transfer a first division men's home game from Ocean Shores at home to Mullumbimby so our club lost the crowd and the royalties," he says.

Mr Patton says the council prioritised funding for the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex at the expense of sporting facilities in Ocean Shores.

But he says very few clubs in the north of the shire want to use the new facility.

"It's a slap in the face for the people of Ocean Shores and the northern end of the shire when they complete a $17 million white elephant for Byron and we get nothing again," Mr Paton said.

At its most recent meeting the council resolved to enter into discussions with a Billinudgel landowner to purchase land there for sports and recreation.

Mayor Jan Barham says the land would be purchased with Section 94 developer contributions funds.

"It's a relatively flat site on the outskirts of Billinudgel and has the potential to supplement sporting fields for the surrounding towns and villages," Cr Barham said.

Council has said it intends to enter into a contract to purchase part of the property and pay a non refundable deposit of $5000.

But the purchase is conditional upon a number of things, including the rezoning and subdivision of the land.

"We still have a way to go before the fields will be operational, but it's exciting news that the first step has been taken," Cr Barham said.

Mr Paton said he hoped the purchase could be fast-tracked.

"I'm really happy about it, but we needed this land yesterday."

Topics:  byron shire infrastructure sporting facilities sports

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