Ballina Council is supporting plans for an indoor sports centre.
Ballina Council is supporting plans for an indoor sports centre.

Sports centre close to reality

AN indoor sports centre worth more than $32 million could become a reality for the Ballina shire.

But planning for the centre won’t start until the 2010/11 financial year, when funds become available.

Ballina Shire Council last week threw its support behind the three-stage project, approving funding of $816,000 for architect services; a flood study; geotechnical, traffic management and environmental reports; consultants and other fees and charges.

The preferred site would be an old landfill site in Gallans Road, near the growing Cumbalum residential area.

Stage one of the centre would cost more than $15 million and would have three multi-purpose courts, a reception area, commercial kitchen, kiosk, change rooms amenity blocks, offices, car parking and child care space.

Stage two would include a 25m indoor swimming pool, a learn to swim pool, a fitness centre and squash courts. It would cost almost $8 million.

A fourth indoor multi-use sports court would be built as part of stage three, along with a 51.5m outdoor swimming pool, at a combined cost of $5.8 million.

But Eva Ramsey, from the Ballina Basketball Association, said the planning process was taking too long.

“Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased that the council is going forward,” she said.

“But we could have been at this point a long time ago.

“The council has slowed the process down because they don’t know where they’re going to get the money from.

“Three out of every five children are obese. We need to give them something to do, otherwise they will run around the streets and cause trouble.”

Ms Ramsey also said the planned sports centre was ‘over the top’.

“It’s not what the community has asked for, the council has got its priorities very twisted,” she said.

Ms Ramsey said the indoor sports centre was supported by a range of sporting organisations looking for indoor facilities, including netball, hockey and soccer.

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