Sports centre under consideration

AN INDOOR sports and events centre with four courts could still be on the cards for Ballina, after councillors this week asked staff to investigate whether it could be built at the former depot site.

The council previously endorsed a two-court facility at Kingsford Smith Park.

It would have incorporated the Seagulls rugby league clubhouse and had an option for a third court in the future.

But there has been concern from some sections of the sporting community that a new facility would need to have four courts to be viable into the future.

Netball superstar Liz Ellis, who is a new resident in Ballina Shire, recently told the council that a four-court facility would "add enormously" to the community.

At this week's facilities committee meeting, councillors voted against the staff recommendation, which was to confirm the preferred option as the two-court centre at Kingsford Smith Park.

Instead, the recommendation to go to the full council meeting next week is to "investigate the suitability of the former depot site for a large-scale community facility up to a four-court stadium".

A "tin shed" type of facility with four courts would cost between $7.4 million and $7.9 million.

Costs would escalate if the facility was more elaborate.

PDT Architects' research showed a proposed four-court building constructed at Kingsford Smith Park would encroach onto the playing field.

The option now being considered is to build the centre at the old depot site, behind the bowling alley and opposite Ballina Fair.

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