Sports park pitches its plans to coun­cil

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Peter Car­ruthers

A DE­CI­SION by Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil is the lynch­pin which will de­cide the fate of the planned upgrade of the Whit­sun­day Sport­spark in Ju­bilee Pocket.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Sport­spark in­vited mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney and the re­gion’s two may­oral can­di­dates to con­sider pledg­ing $750,000 to the park over a three year pe­riod.

The grant­ing of this “seed cap­i­tal” would bet­ter en­able the park to suc­cess­fully ap­ply to the Queens­land Govern­ment for their Get Play­ing Plus grant.

Sub­mis­sions for this grant close on April 1.

Whit­sun­day Sport­spark sec­re­tary Justin But­ler said it would need to be the first or­der of busi­ness once the new lo­cal govern­ment was elected af­ter March 19.

Mr But­ler said the park’s plans re­ceived strong ver­bal sup­port.

“Our chal­lenge over the next two weeks in the run up to the elec­tion is to ask them some very spe­cific ques­tions about whether they will vote, if elected, to stump up the $750,000 to get it all hap­pen­ing,” he said.

Mr But­ler said the in­vest­ment by coun­cil in the upgrade pro­ject could see the Whit­sun­day re­gion with a state-of-the-art sport fa­cil­ity worth $4.5 mil­lion if state and fed­eral fund­ing came through.

“We reckon we can achieve six to one lev­er­age on the spend­ing of ratepay­ers’ money,” he said.

Mr But­ler said there was strong sup­port for the Sport­spark’s plans but... “crunch time will come at their very first coun­cil meet­ing af­ter the elec­tions, when it will be vote time”. Though an ex­ten­sion on the April 1 Get Play­ing grant dead­line could be sought, Mr But­ler did ad­mit the tim­ing was tight. “This is not some­thing that coun­cil can muck around with for three or four months,” he said.

PLANS PITCHED: Jack Lumby, Sport­spark sec­re­tary Justin But­ler (back), Ben­nard Woods and Shane Bartlett at the Sport­spark.

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