JASON Hamling says NRL games shouldn’t be the first consideration in planning a new sports precinct in Orange.
The Orange City Council (OCC) sports and recreation committee chair, and self-confessed sports nut, says other events need to be taken into consideration when designing a sporting centre.
OCC is in the final stages of securing land for a sports precinct.
Hamling wants to make sure all possibilities are considered during the planning process, and not just the ability to host big games such as NRL matches and City versus Country.
“It’s all well and good to have NRL games, but the bread and butter for the community is the junior carnivals,” Hamling explained.
“I would like a sports precinct. I’m not talking about just one ground. I want a showcase ground with fields surrounding it.”
There is the potential for Orange to host state junior sporting carnivals if a precinct is built with multiple rectangular fields.
Wade Park is unable to host major winter sports carnivals because it only has one field.
The Orange Emus Rugby Union Club has been able to host the NSW Junior Rugby Union under 14s championships because their facility has two rectangular fields.
Hamling said it is not viable to upgrade Wade Park to a precinct due, mainly, to its location, and limited parking.
Instead he would like to see Wade Park become a premier ground for cricket in summer and Australian Rules in winter.
“Wade Park is a great ground but it’s time to look outside the square,” Hamling said.
He said Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex is the newest facility in the Central West and was a good basis to start plans for Orange.
“I’d like to see Orange go one step better,” he said.
“We want to build something that we’re not going back to in 10 years to fix up. It’s time we caught up and it’s time we went for these junior carnivals.”
Hamling said he didn’t have a figure in mind of what his ideal sporting precinct would cost.
Instead, he wants to start the debate and make sure people are thinking about what Orange needs.