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'Changing the face' of Whitsunday sport

Labor canddiate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha and Whitsunday Sportspark president Justin Butler await Stage three of the Whitsunday Sportspark masterplan.
Labor canddiate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha and Whitsunday Sportspark president Justin Butler await Stage three of the Whitsunday Sportspark masterplan. Jacob Wilson

THE Stage three "game-changer” of the Whitsunday Sportspark masterplan would proceed next year with government support, if Labor is re-elected.

Labor candidate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha said the Palaszczuk government would pledge $2.1 million to partially fund the top storey of a modern rejuvenated sports club, including a trading bar, bistro, coffee shop, kids club and verandah.

The Whitsunday Sportspark committee would contribute the remainder of what is projected to be a $3,796,500 project which will begin March 2018 and reach completion by Christmas or early 2019.

The Whitsunday Sportspark masterplan is an eight Stage redevelopment vision which is expected to take 20 years to realise.

With a shortage of sporting fields in Airlie Beach identified by a 2016 Whitsunday Regional Council report, the masterplan seeks to improve sport participation and provide safer facilities.

The masterplan would see sporting field realignments to "effectively double playing space” and allow for an extra five to seven years of growth in participation.

Whitsunday Sportspark president Justin Butler said the project would "change the face of the community”.

"Stage three is the game changer because out of all the eight stages that is the money maker,” he said.

"The profits will feed into sporting clubs across the community and then all over the shire.”

Ms Taha said the benefits which would flow from the project spoke for itself.

"This is terrific news for not only the Sportspark but the entire Whitsunday community,” she said.

"The project will provide a vital piece of infrastructure for the community and will provide more than 50 construction and on-going jobs.

"Redevelopment of the precinct will be a win for sport, tourism and the community as a whole, by providing a facility that will become a major centre for sports, functions and events.”

Mr Butler said while the club may have been able to borrow the funds to complete the project without government support, there was no guarantee it would have gotten the green light.

"We will need to do a little borrowing but instead of only just being able to borrow if all the budgeting was right, we can now just borrow a bit at the end for cost over-runs and extra things like making it a cyclone recovery area and community hub,” he said.

"It would be able to sleep 300-400 people and provide showers and toilets for people (during a natural disaster).”

The Whitsunday Sportspark has received funding across all levels of government, including $750,000 in seed capital from Whitsunday Regional Council from June 2016, $1,500,000 from the Queensland Government "Get Playing Plus Grant” fund from June 2016 and a $1,900,000 election commitment from the Federal Coalition Government.

Topics:  labor qld election 2017 sport whitsunday whitsunday sportspark


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