Council approves sports complex
SPORTING groups in the Ballina Shire say they have been waiting 15 years, nine months and 16 days for an indoor sports centre.
But this week their wish finally came true.
The council approved the first stage of a sports complex which will have three multi-purpose courts, changerooms, toilets, a reception area and offices.
The entire four stages of the centre will cost more than $32 million, with stage one valued about $15 million.
At this week’s council meeting, it was decided the council would call for tenders for the detailed designs of stage one to three.
Stage one will be mandatory, but stages two and three will depend on available funding and tender figures.
The latter stages would include a 25m indoor pool, learn-to-swim pool, fitness centre, squash courts, a fourth multi-use court and a 51.5m outdoor pool.
An ‘optional’ stage four would include a theatre, expo and events space.
Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she was very keen to see the sports centre go ahead.
“We don’t want to have our community to have to travel big distances to play sport,” she said.
Building an indoor complex was ‘obvious for our community’, Cr Peter Moore said.
“It’s been obvious for almost 16 years,” he said.
“This is something that will be really good for our region, not just for our shire.”
Cr David Wright said the lack of a suitable indoor sports facility in the area had almost caused indoor sporting groups, such as basketball, to fold.
Eva Ramsey, from the Ballina Basketball Association, said she was delighted with the council’s decision to call for tenders for the complex.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” she said.
“We here in Ballina are desperate for indoor sports facilities.
“It is long overdue. We really need this and we need it now.
“There is nowhere for us to go. We, as a sporting organisation, are not asking for a castle or the Taj Mahal. Stage one is all we require, it is all we are asking for.”
The preferred site for the indoor sports complex is on council-owned land at Gallens Road in Ballina.