Duffy and Hamling ask for 'shovel-ready' sporting precinct

GET IT ROLLING: Councillor Jason Hamling at the Priest Lane site proposed for the rectangular sporting complex.
GET IT ROLLING: Councillor Jason Hamling at the Priest Lane site proposed for the rectangular sporting complex.

AFTER a year of little progress, councillors have asked concept plans be drawn up for the proposed rectangular sporting complex and upgrades for Wade Park. 

Councillors Jason Hamling and Kevin Duffy put the motion forward on Tuesday night, which also called for consultants to develop the plans and investigate possible sites, as well as consider a range of sports, including athletics.

According to the pair, Wade Park should be made into a multi-purpose ground capable of hosting large sporting events by extending the playing surface to the south, upgrading the western grandstand and installing male and female dressing rooms, disability access and better technology.

Land was purchased for the new precinct in 2016 on Priest Lane, off the Northern Distributor Road, and the council sought state government approval to rezone it.

While staff noted the project was in the long-term financial plan and listed for action closer to 2023, Cr Duffy said both facilities were needed at the same time to support each other.

“This is about getting concept plans for exactly what we want out there,” he said.

“Unless you’ve got concept plans, you cannot go forward to get detailed costing plans to have a shovel-ready project.”

He said Priest Lane might not be the eventual location and there was a state election in a year’s time.

“It may be the place for it, it may be somewhere else, it could be out near Bloomfield hospital,” he said. 

“[Bathurst has] a brand new velodrome, they’ve just been given money to do up their sports ground, Dubbo have got the athletics complex, they’ve got the big Apex Oval, they’ve just got $10 million to do up Victoria [Park], you have a look at what we’ve got – we need to have these things done to say we want this money to come to us.” 

Councillor Tony Mileto noted there were plans to make Sir Jack Brabham Park a soccer hub, while Cr Hamling said he had been approached by parents wanting a synthetic athletics track, concerned about their children’s sprained ankles.

“We know we’re not going to get an NRL game out every two years, but we can go to soccer, we can go to rugby union and we can go to rugby league,” he said.

“I think the people of Orange deserve to have that sort of sport brought to them instead of going to Sydney and paying $400 a night, paying $100 to get in and $500 in food.”

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