OUR SAY | Council’s sport upgrade plans are in the right ballpark

UPGRADE COMING: Wade Park is the historic home of rugby league in Orange.
UPGRADE COMING: Wade Park is the historic home of rugby league in Orange.

A NUMBER of Central West towns and cities have invested in sporting facilities and gone out of their way to lure events in recent years. Mostly, they’ve reaped the benefits.

Mudgee is the prime example, with the state-of-the-art Glen Willow Sporting Complex hosting a variety of top-tier rugby league fixtures, including National Rugby League and representative games, while Bathurst’s Carrington Park has also seen its fair share of elite football players in recent winters.

While plans are in place for a purpose-built rectangular field and sporting precinct to the city’s north to draw some of those games our way, it’s heartening to see Orange City Council focusing on improving the facilities we already have.

Councillors Jason Hamling and Tony Mileto have spoken of how Sir Jack Brabham Park, the city’s historic homes of rugby league and soccer respectively, will be the focus of refurbishment plans in the coming years.

More specifically, there’s plans for a much-needed amenities block at Brabham, and an upgrade to the Wade Park lightsd, among other touch-ups to both sites.

Even at a cursory glance, the policy of prioritising these facilities makes sense.

These are the grounds that get the most use – if there’s any doubts about that you need only look at the crows at Brabham on a Saturday morning, or the massive swell of regional players and supporters who flock to Wade Park for Group 10’s junior rugby league finals days.

Week after week and year after year the two, along with Orange Hockey Centre and Sir Neville Howse Stadium and the PCYC netball courts courts, are among the most used sporting facilities in council’s jurisdiction.

For that reason alone they deserve the lion’s share of available funds when the budget’s goodies are being doled out.

It’s all well and good to implement plans that will draw the famous names and high-profile events our way, and there’s no disputing the benefits – economic and otherwise – that having big ticket games in our own backyard would bring.

But it’s just as important to keep the bread-and-butter sporting events ticking over, if for no other reason than quality facilities will encourage more parents and guardians to involve their youngsters in junior sport.

Council seems intent on doing just that. Here’s hoping their plans come to fruition.