WORK IN PROGRESS: Stage One of the Whitsunday Sportspark redevelopment is under way.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Stage One of the Whitsunday Sportspark redevelopment is under way. GREGOR MACTAGGART

Transformation is taking shape

WORK on transforming Whitsunday Sportspark is beginning to take shape.

The venue is in the midst of its Stage One redevelopment which has focused on the fields of the popular facility.

Whitsunday Sportspark chairman Justin Butler outlined the current work as part of the $6.5 million revamp.

"The rectangle fields have undergone four months of civil work to turn what was one field into two,” Mr Butler said.

"In the past, sports such as soccer and rugby union have had just the one field, but now they will have a second field for juniors to play.

"It will also allow more space to train.”

One of the major hallmarks of the redevelopment is the introduction of state-of-the-art lighting for the rectangular fields.

Mr Butler said that would bring the facility up with modern-day standards and open the door to stage major carnivals.

"Our current halogen bulbs were about 100 lux, but these new lights are about 250 lux,” he said.

"There will be no light posts in the middle of the rectangular fields, but around the edges, so they are very strong and will be great for sport at night.”

Stage Two gets under way in March with the main building, currently home to the Whitsunday Sea Eagles, set to be knocked down.

Mr Butler revealed what the new building would look like.

"The change rooms will be four times the current size,” he said.

"There will be areas for umpires, first-aid rooms, greater undercover area and new car parking as well.

"The plan is for the new dressing rooms to be completed by Christmas and be 100 per cent in play for 2020.

Mr Butler said this work was the initial part of an eight-stage masterplan looking across the entire Whitsunday Sportspark precinct.

He added one of the major ambitions was to lure major sport to the region, similar to what Harrup Park has done for Mackay.

"Certainly we're looking at the opportunities of maybe getting pre-season NRL or AFL trial matches here,” he said. "It is a vision we have and hopefully it will come to fruition within the next two or three years.

"We're between Townsville and Mackay, and from an accommodation point of view Airlie Beach can handle any influx of visitors you would get.

"I think a number of sporting clubs would love to come and play games in the Whitsundays.”

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