Build it and they will come

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - YOUR SAY - OUR SAY DEPUTY ED­I­TOR

WHILE the con­ver­sa­tion about who should foot the mon­ster bill for the Sports Precinct and whether it needs to cost quite as much is rightly con­tin­u­ing, we shouldn’t lose sight of the end goal.

The Ju­nior State Cup has given us a glimpse into the po­ten­tial for sports tourism but it’s just the start.

The trans­for­ma­tion of the coastal town of Coffs Har­bour, which just ben­e­fited from $4.5mil­lion boost as host of the Tag World Cup, is a case in point. This is a code which brings an es­ti­mated $20mil­lion to Coffs an­nu­ally

Vis­it­ing the re­gion, I was in awe of the buzz around town as thou­sands of play­ers and their fam­i­lies filled shop­ping cen­tres, restau­rants and re­sorts for two weeks.

The lo­cal coun­cil had rolled out the wel­come mat with ban­ners and flags lin­ing the air­port en­trance and CBD streets.

Coffs Har­bour’s ca­pac­ity to host such an event only be­came pos­si­ble with sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in sport tourism and the coun­cil and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment each tip­ping in mil­lions for the up­grade of the sports sta­dium.

While Cr Chap­man’s call for sport­ing clubs to come up with some dol­lars is fair, the re­al­ity is, the bulk of this money is go­ing to come from ratepay­ers and hope­fully gov­ern­ment grants.

Un­pop­u­lar as this con­cept may still be in some cor­ners of the re­gion, I’ve yet to see an ar­gu­ment which trumps the enor­mous ben­e­fit sports tourism stands to have on our econ­omy.

JES­SICA GRE­WAL

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