Sporting boost promised for Whitsundays
DEVELOPMENT of the Whitsunday Sportspark is all but assured after Labor matched a $2.1 million LNP funding commitment to progress the sporting hub plans.
The Airlie Beach sporting park's expansion and redevelopment is a three-stage plan to double playing space and allow for five to seven years of future growth in participation.
Today, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan will promise to invest $3.68 million - an extra $1.58 million to the project to ensure its completion, if she wins the seat, contingent also on Labor forming government.
But because George Christensen also made a $2.1 million commitment in March through the Building Better Regions Fund, the sportpark funding has a strong chance of coming to fruition either way.
Whitsunday Sportspark is the only multi-sport facility in Airlie Beach - hosting AFL, rugby union, touch football, soccer, netball and softball, as well as other major sporting and community events.
The park hosts more than 1000 people a week during the winter sports season and, on many Saturdays, two or three separate clubs host visiting teams from Mackay or Bowen across several grades.
The redeveloped facility is being transformed into a community hub for Airlie Beach that will also serve as a major community centre for things like disaster recovery and community functions.
Ms Hassan said existing fields were at capacity and the expansion would enable sport to grow and increase participation rates.
"I'm incredibly proud to support this project because it will be an asset to the Whitsunday community," she said.
"I believe in investing in projects that make communities stronger, which is why this project was a no brainer."
Shadow sport minister Don Farrell said Labor was committed to supporting clubs and communities to improve local sporting facilities.
"We want to give all Australians a fair go at sport, whether they dream of winning an Olympic gold medal in the Women's Sevens, playing for the Wallabies or just enjoy the health and social benefits of grassroots sport," Senator Farrell said.
"Our investments in facilities like this the Whitsunday Sports Park help communities build capacity to meet the welcome growth in female sport participation and support more Australians to live active, healthy lifestyles."
The facility is also a hub for the community hosting music festivals, Cancer Council Relay for Life, Mackay Cutters vs Norths Devils QRL Intrust Super Cup game, Qld Police Rugby Carnivals, Rugby 7s tournaments, touch and netball carnivals and Proserpine Brahmans Mackay District Rugby League games.
Stage one involved constructing a second field and installing six new LED light poles.
Stage two and three include building new change rooms, storage rooms, an umpire and officials' room, toilets and showers.
Grandstand seating, terrace seating and a modern sports club also will be built, adding a second story to the clubhouse.
The second level will feature a sports bistro and bar, gaming area and a children's club.
The sportspark encountered increased costs after Tropical Cyclone Debbie.