New sporting grounds may be coming

NEW sporting grounds in the north of Byron shire could become a reality after the council resolved yesterday to push ahead with plans to acquire suitable land at Billinudgel.

Despite recommendations by Byron Shire Council staff to abandon negotiations with the owners due to a lack of available funds for development and maintenance of sporting fields, strong public support swayed councillors to proceed.

Mayor Jan Barham described it as a rare opportunity to secure open public space, something lacking in the area, after the owner made what has been described as a "very generous offer" to council.

Concerns were raised by several councillors about possible zoning restrictions and the flood-prone nature of the site adjacent to Dung Oval.

In the end only Cr Ross Tucker voted against the motion, warning the council could end up looking silly if it found it was not able to subdivide the land.

Members of the public applauded loudly following the passing of the motion which gave in-principle support for the acquisition of a secure interest in the land.

Staff were instructed to report back to council at the next general meeting on December 15.

Ocean Shores Soccer Club president Mark Patten told the council his club had recently signed up another 60 players and the sporting facilities were desperately needed.

South Golden Beach Community Association president Kathy Norley said it was the first time in 19 years she had seen all community groups in the area agree on a single issue.

"This is an offer from two people who have been generous in helping the community, but it's only available for a short period," she said.


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