Ballina Shire resident, Yvonne Haines urged the council to ensure the upcoming indoor sports centre can facilitate netball games.
Ballina Shire resident, Yvonne Haines urged the council to ensure the upcoming indoor sports centre can facilitate netball games. Patrick Woods

Who will manage Ballina's new indoor sports centre?

AN AFFORDABLE facility where the young and old can play sport, no matter the weather, is senior netball player Yvonne Haines' wish for the upcoming Ballina Indoor Sports Centre, slated for construction next year.

Ms Haines, who coordinates a netball-like game for seniors and people with disabilities, shared her desire with Ballina Shire Council, where future management of the facility was discussed at last week's meeting.

The four-court complex would be erected next to the new Ballina Coast High School, which is expected to reopen in 2019. 

Sick of marking up community centres with tape, Ms Haines implored the council at last week's meeting to construct a facility where sports like netball could be played indoors.

"I hope someone in the council is listening and can to do something for indoor sports for young and old in the Ballina Shire please as soon as possible at an affordable rate," Ms Haines said.

Her impassioned plea was in opposition to a notice of motion by Councillor Jeff Johnson that proposed that council staff engage in talks with NSW Police Citizen Youth Club about future management of the centre for use beyond just sports.

Canvassing a vision to creating more than just a sports centre, Cr Johnston said the PCYC would be " a dream come true" for the council by citing potential savings and opportunities for various community initiatives.

Speaking for Cr Johnston's motion, PCYC supporter Tony Pfeiffer said the organisation was "truly inspiring" and could play an important role in reducing crime while improve mental-health and well-being in the Ballina Shire.

But Cr Sharon Cadwallader said the motion was "losing sight of the facility's purpose" as a sporting complex.

Cr Stephen McCarthy - who declared a non significant, non pecuniary interest in the motion because he is a possible tenant of the indoor sports centre - echoed Cr Cadwallader's concerns.

He said it would be "too premature" not to look at other options and couldn't ascertain how third party management could save the council money.

Meanwhile most councillors, such as Cr Phillip Meehan, threw their support behind the move to engage with PCYC along with other parties interested in managing the centre.

"To simple discard the opportunity to learn is a foolish way to move ahead," Cr Meehan said.

Cr Johnston agreed to amend his motion to expand discussions to involve other interested parties as well as the PCYC about the potential management of the Ballina Indoor Sporting Centre and other council facilities.

The aim of the discussions were to: increase the range of programs available to the community; decrease operating and capital costs for the council and minimise cost to users.

The council voted 7-2 in favour of the motion with Crs McCarthy and Cadwallader voting against.

Cr Ben Smith was absent for the October meeting.



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