ORANGE City Council is in the final stages of buying land for a rectangular field and sporting precinct, but with the complex likely to be at least a decade away from becoming a reality councillor Kevin Duffy wants council to turn its attention to the upkeep of Wade Park first.
With negotiations for the land still underway, council staff won’t reveal the location of the complex but councillors have endorsed the plans.
Cr Duffy supports the project but believes it could cost $30 million to $50 million and take 10 to 15 years to get off the ground.
In the meantime he fears Wade Park could be neglected and become another showground situation for the council.
“You need to look at what your going to play there,” he said.
“It’s in the centre of town it should be the mecca centre of major events in Orange.”
Cr Duffy said Mudgee’s $14 million Glen Willow stadium was eight years in the making, despite attracting funding from the federal government’s stimulus package.
In the current political climate he does not believe Orange will find it easy to attract funds.
Cr Duffy said Wade Park’s facilities were substandard with the dressing rooms, canteen and disabled access needing an overhaul.
“My concept would be to extend the grandstand at either end and have canteens at the top of the grandstand,” he said.
He wants council to consult with the ground’s users and recognise it can also be used for special events like Nitro Circus as well as cricket, rugby league and Australian rules football.
But long-term advocate for a stand alone rectangular field, councillor Jason Hamling said the new complex was a priority to avoid the clash between winter and summer sports as the seasons run longer.
“Wade Park has already been looked at that’s why we spent $100,000 on the surface last year,” he said.
“Wade Park is run down that’s why it is out of the picture for a rectangular field.
“I want to see a sporting facility that reflects Orange’s population.”
He was more optimistic about the chances of attracting funding from either the federal or state government or entering into a private partnership.
“You’ve got to put your hat in there, you can’t close shop just because there’s a change to the political sphere,” he said.
Despite council completing a master plan for Wade Park last year, Cr Duffy wants a further feasibility study into its future and rejects the master plan’s suggestion to move the rectangle field from the centre of the oval to closer to the grandstand.