Council confirm decision to build new sporting facility poses questions about Wade Park

POTENTIAL: Despite Orange City Council passing a resolution to buy land for a purpose-built rectangular complex, Wade Park could still be upgraded to accommodate cricket and AFL. Photo: NICK McGRATH 0905nmbackdrop3

POTENTIAL: Despite Orange City Council passing a resolution to buy land for a purpose-built rectangular complex, Wade Park could still be upgraded to accommodate cricket and AFL. Photo: NICK McGRATH 0905nmbackdrop3

AFTER years of longing and speculation, it was confirmed on Tuesday Orange City Council (OCC) has passed a resolution to purchase an area of land in Orange with the intention of constructing a venue to compare with Mudgee’s Glen Willow Sporting Complex.

However, the details of the purchase are under negotiation and confidential as a result, making it impossible to tag the project with a time frame.

“It is all confidential,” OCC sports and recreation committee chair, and councillor, Jason Hamling said.

“The resolution has been passed, but I can’t say any more about it.”

The announcement coincides with the formation of the Friends of Wade Park (FOWP) group, who suggest more emphasis should be placed on upgrading Orange’s current premier sporting facility.

FOWP spokesperson Kevin Duffy said on Monday the current economic climate did not lend itself to OCC securing the necessary grants to build a state-of-the-art complex, and perhaps investing money in Wade Park is more realistic.

“I don’t want this to turn into a shit-fight between me and Kevin Duffy,” Hamling said.

“We’ve spoken about it, he supports the rectangular complex and I support an upgrade to Wade Park, I’ve been quoted many times saying as much. 

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“Wade Park could be upgraded as a cricket and AFL ground, but any upgrade to it is a short-term option for other sports, at the end of the day it is only one field. We could put as many grandstands around it as we like, it is still only one field. 

“In that respect, a rectangular complex with multiple fields is necessary if we’re to host really big events.

“Not just elite sport, but various sports’ championships and such, it would be a ground where you could play under 8s sport all the way up to first grade.”

OCC communications officer Allan Reeder confirmed Hamling’s comments, and said Wade Park would not be forsaken should the new stadium be approved.

“Wade Park will never be the premier sporting facility people might see it being,” Reeder said.

“And that is purely based on it only having one field. We see its future as a cricket and AFL ground.  We know the local AFL want to put some money into it, and it will always have its place as a cricket ground. 

“In a nutshell, upgrading Wade Park would be a short-term option, and building the rectangular sporting field is the long-term option. 

“It’s just about getting the balance of how much money goes into each project correct.”

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