Williams Reserve closer to upgrade

LENNOX HEAD sporting groups are one step closer to getting some much-needed improvements to the facilities at Williams Reserve.

Ballina Shire Council this week gave permission for the Lennox Head Combined Sporting Association to lodge a development application for the upgrades.

It will include expanding the building to include new storage areas and additional toilets. There will also be a first floor addition for club rooms and toilets.

Lennox Head Rugby Union president, Barry Kiddle, said they were celebrating the decision.

“It’s good news. It’s something the association has been working on for a long time,” he said.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting. The facilities at Williams Reserve are Third World. All we’ve got at the moment are two inadequate changing sheds and a leaking awning. It’s embarrassing.”

The future of Williams Reserve as a sporting field has been intensively debated in recent years.

Some sectors of the community want the reserve to become a ‘village green’ with only low-key sporting activities.

But new sporting fields planned for Pacific Pines are now in doubt after the developer, Petrac, went into receivership. A buyer for the site is still being negotiated.

The development would have included two senior and two junior fields, senior and junior cricket pitches, cricket nets and netball courts, significantly reducing the pressures on Williams Reserve.

But for now, and possibly well into the future, the reserve will continue to be main sporting area in Lennox Head.

Mr Kiddle said he wanted it maintained as a sporting field indefinitely.

“The beauty of Williams Reserve is that it’s smack in the middle of town,” Mr Kiddle said.

“After battling for more sporting fields for 25 years it’s all we’ve got, so it deserves attention.”

In allowing the development application for upgrades at Williams Reserve to be lodged, the council acknowledged that there was ‘great uncertainty’ as to when the Pacific Pines sporting fields would be delivered.

“Therefore it is easy to understand why the LHCSA wants to upgrade the existing amenities,” the council’s report states.

However, council staff also expressed concern that allowing more development at Williams Reserve may not be in the ‘best long-term interests of the reserve’.

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