AFTER whispers and rumours galore of spots all over town, Orange City Council revealed the proposed location of Orange’s new, state-of-the-art sporting precinct yesterday.
Orange City Council sports and recreation committee chair, councillor Jason Hamling confirmed there is money in the current budget to purchase land off the northern distributor, sitting between Ophir Road and Icely Road, which backs on to Suma Park Dam.
The giant block is subject to re-zoning, and will be put on public exhibition prior to purchase if all is approved, but councillor Hamling said the greenfield site is perfect to house a facility capable of hosting a plethora of sports, all the way up to elite levels.
“It’s the first time we’ve been able to say where this long-awaited thing is, it’s here, it’s happening,” he explained on site on Wednesday.
“It’s alongside the bypass, it’s a greenfield site which would let us do things differently to if it was in the middle of the town.
“Obviously this is the start of consultation. If it all goes through we’ll put it on public exhibition ... sale is conditional on re-zoning.
“This is the start of long-term planning for infrastructure.”
Councillor Hamling made a point of clarifying the location would not just house a rectangular sporting field, but rather an entire precinct potentially dedicated to a number of sports and recreational activities outside the football codes.
“We all know Mudgee’s Glen Willow Sporting Complex, what I envisage is having something like that and much more,” he said.
“It’s not just a rectangular field, it’s a whole sporting precinct. That includes sport, passive recreation, bike tracks maybe, who knows.
“I’m not saying it will, but if we’ve got certain sporting infrastructure in town that is tiring, there’s a chance that could move out to this area.
“Hockey, cycling, you name it really.”
Naturally, the discussion brings up the relevance of Wade Park should such a structure be erected in Orange.
Councillor Hamling didn’t beat around the bush, and said there is room for Orange’s current premier facility to remain an upstanding venue in the colour city.
“We will have our knockers, who would question why Wade Park isn’t just redeveloped,” he said.
“But people want Orange City Council to try and attract sporting events out here. NRL trials, Super Rugby trials as examples will be played in February, when cricket is on.
“I love Wade Park, it has a lot of history and will continue to. We are upgrading Wade Park but I think a city the size of Orange, we need a dedicated sporting precinct outside of that ground