Soccer FNC threatens coastal relocation

SOCCER Far North Coast (SFNC), a long-term tenant of Lismore City Council facilities, has had enough of what it calls broken promises and poor facility management and is set to pack its bags and move its base to Ballina or Byron shires.

SFNC general manager Matt Kelso said Lismore City Council's back-flip over funding at Riverview Park, South Lismore, the base for junior soccer representative team training for the past four years, had left the organisation in a quandary.

"As a result, we are unable to provide a quality training facility for the 200 players in the elite development program and unable to move forward with long-term plans to redevelop the site," Kelso said.

"As of December last year, SFNC had sourced funding to the tune of $300,000 and the failure of the council to deliver on the first component of the redevelopment has resulted in the financial supporters of SFNC losing faith in the proposal altogether.

"Just when SFNC thought things could not get worse, applications for the use of Oakes Oval for the first major season event have been met with a firm 'ground closed' comment from council staff."

Kelso said the annual Anzac Cup finals clashed with the the council's decision to prepare Oakes Oval for two weeks before the City-Country rugby league match.

"SFNC is fully in support of this event and the desire to have the facility at its peak," Kelso said.

"However, the city council seems oblivious to the needs of the other users of this facility and the historical nature of the event.

"Council seems to have adopted the attitude that sporting events can be moved at will ... whenever a better offer arises.

"SFNC have been the major users of Oakes Oval over the past three years, keeping the 'white elephant' operational.

"Our fundraising activities rely on continuity, especially where State Government approval is required for some of the services we provide. Just ask the local publicans how troublesome some of the legislation is.

"Council do not seem to consider the logistics of relocation at all.

"As a result, SFNC is looking at other venues outside the Lismore City Council area to satisfy the long-term needs of the football community.

"No doubt, Lismore council's loss will be someone else's gain as SFNC pay dearly for the use of council's facilities."

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