FACES BEHIND THE PLANS: (back from left) Bernadette Macdougall, Steve Tween, Paul Murphy, Anthony Nobilia, (front) Bernard Woods, Justin Butler, Kylie Drysdale and Shane Bartlett.
FACES BEHIND THE PLANS: (back from left) Bernadette Macdougall, Steve Tween, Paul Murphy, Anthony Nobilia, (front) Bernard Woods, Justin Butler, Kylie Drysdale and Shane Bartlett.

Step closer for Sportspark

IMAGINE the North Queensland Cowboys playing a trial match against the Brisbane Broncos in Airlie Beach - these are the types of things that could be possible with a re-developed Whitsunday Sportspark.

The State Government has just made that dream one step closer to reality with the announcement that the Sportspark has been successful in securing a $1.5 million Get Playing Plus grant.

With a Liberal Federal Government commitment of $1.9 million announced last month, it puts the precinct plans closer than ever.

Whitsunday Sportspark president Justin Butler said if all went to plan, they could be playing in the new precinct by the 2018 winter sport season.

Mr Butler said the grant came with some conditions, including that building would have to begin within 18 months and be completed in the next two years.

"As a committee and organisation we now need to plan out to ensure we do deliver the end results," he said.

"As much of the money as possible will be spent locally. We want to make sure anyone we engage outside the local area is (only) because there was no-one in the local area that could do it."

Mr Butler said there were still a few other steps they could take to ensure everything went ahead, with further opportunities for state sporting bodies to contribute money, as well as private enterprise investment and the potential for the committee to borrow funds.

"We hosted a Queensland Cup game four years ago, Mackay v Norths with a crowd of 800. That was with basic facilities," he said. "That could become a much more significant event and a much more regular occurrence. We could be holding major events six or 10 times during a year instead of the current two or three."

Although work cannot start this year due to the amount of planning, the committee hopes to have their plans set by Christmas and to start building in September/Octo

ber 2017.


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