Ballina crying out for sports centre
By MARY MANN email@example.com BALLINA needs a regional sports centre. And it needs one now.
That was Eva Ramsey's response when she heard Ballina Shire Council was looking at options for a new indoor sporting facility, suggested for a 12-hectare site in the Southern Cross Industrial Estate area.
Ms Ramsey, president of the Ballina Basketball Association, says the shire is 10 years behind the times when it comes to such facilities, which means local athletes are being held back.
She has been pushing for an indoor sporting centre all year, and in February put a proposal to council for a four-court indoor basketball stadium.
The council has since engaged GeoLINK to prepare a master plan for the council-owned land adjacent to the Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport and the Southern Cross Industrial Estate, which includes medium to long-term plans for a regional sporting facility.
It is a move Ms Ramsey and other sports representatives are happy about but Ms Ramsey says the shire can't afford to wait much longer for it.
"We need it now," she said. "Sport can't grow if we don't have a good facility. "We are already 10 years behind other major areas, we can't afford to be playing catch-up forever."
She said the association uses the court at Southern Cross School K-12 at East Ballina, but school functions mean the court is not always available, creating some problems when the association tries to host other teams.
Eric Clifford, president of the Ballina Sports Club, agreed an indoor basketball facility was needed in Ballina. "We've got indoor cricket and indoor soccer facilities, but nothing for basketball except at the schools," he said. "We need the facility for the children."
Darel Vidler, president of the Lennox Head Combined Sports Association, said as the population increased, more and more pressure would be put on existing facilities.
"We have a lot of promising juniors coming through and we need a major sporting centre to host competition up to an international standard," Mr Vidler said.