Lydia Lassila of Australia jumps during freestyle aerials training at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, in PyeongChang, South Korea, Saturday, February 10, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Lydia Lassila of Australia jumps during freestyle aerials training at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, in PyeongChang, South Korea, Saturday, February 10, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) DAN HIMBRECHTS

Olympic glory drives enthusiasm for Lismore ski jump

LISMORE City Council is fielding inquiries "all the time" from private landowners who believe they have suitable land for the proposed Winter Olympic training facility, according to Lismore mayor Isaac Smith.

Meanwhile, Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie has signalled her support for more Winter Olympic facilities in Australia, during her visit this week to PyeongChang where she praised the "dedication and commitment" of Australia's winter Olympic athletes.

The Nationals Senator said it was "important to look at facilities at home" so athletes weren't forced to go overseas every year to train.

"What I want to do, and the Australian government wants to do, is to make sure we increase the community level of participation," she told The Australian yesterday.

It was also reported that the combined Winter Olympic sports received roughly the same funding as a single Summer Olympic sport - canoeing - in this year's Australian Sports Commission budget.

An inquiry has been made with Ms McKenzie's office to see if the Federal Government will contribute any direct funds to the proposed ski jump facility in Lismore.

In December Lismore City Council voted to work with the NSW Office of Sport to develop a proposal and business case for a Lismore Regional Sports Hub incorporating a proposed Olympic Ski Jump Training Facility.

The initial councillor vote was five in favour and five against - with Cr Smith forced to use his casting vote to carry the day.

Opposition to the project arose due to potential visual amenity and maintenance concerns.

Those worries were in part fed by the widespread opposition to the original proposal at Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head, which was ultimately abandoned by the government.

However, Cr Smith said yesterday there was no reason why the initial concerns couldn't be addressed.

"The obvious benefit of having it in Lismore is we've got a lot of hills, and we can use those hills to make sure it wasn't the eyesore it was going to be in Lennox.

"There is no location chosen yet, and in fact we are getting inquiries all the time from private landowners who want to have it on their land," he said.

"We have lots of options, and we're listening to our community so we don't ruin the amenity of residential areas.

"(But) until we see the proposal from the State Government, we're not able to progress the location."

An Office of Sport spokeswoman said in a statement the council was exploring the possibility of a "multi-purpose sporting hub tailored to Lismore's needs, with contributing funding from the NSW Government.

"They are also determining if a winter sports facility, including ski jump, could be part of this proposal," the spokeswoman said.

It was also confirmed that no location for the site had been identified yet.

"An economic and social viability assessment will need to be undertaken in partnership with stakeholders prior to any decision."

Cr Smith said the facility seemed like a "win win" for council.

"It leverages Lismore's reputation as a sporting hub, which is something that was also confirmed with the State Government in our submissions for funding," he said.

"It really gives is the opportunity to boost or sporting tourism at a local level which will boost our local businesses."

The mayor also mentioned the region's track record of producing quality Australian athletes.

"We've produced elite level athletes in other sports, such as Craig foster and Adam Gilchrist can't the next winter aerial champion be from Lismore?"

"I think everyone's inspired by the Winter Olympics and seeing Australians do well."



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