New sta­dium con­ver­sa­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

AHor­sham coun­cil­lor over­see­ing plan­ning for a pro­posed Wim­mera in­door sta­dium has rec­om­mended a project con­trol group re­form and in­vite bas­ket­ball rep­re­sen­ta­tives to join dis­cus­sions.

Cr Mark Rad­ford pre­sented a PCG chair­man’s state­ment to a coun­cil meet­ing on Mon­day night.

As­pects of the sta­dium project have po­larised pub­lic opinion in Hor­sham, mainly based on its pro­posed site at Mcbryde Street, and its im­pact on Hor­sham bas­ket­ball.

The coun­cil dis­cussed a project up­date from tech­ni­cal ser­vices direc­tor John Martin on Mon­day night.

Mr Martin said he be­lieved it was not yet ap­pro­pri­ate to make a fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tion on the sta­dium project. Here is Cr Rad­ford’s sum­mary. Dur­ing the past two weeks of ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, it has been en­cour­ag­ing to read and hear a va­ri­ety of com­ments about our in­door sports sta­dium project.

There has been a com­mon theme – ‘We are not against a new in­door sports sta­dium’.

Even the project’s most vo­cal ob­jec­tors have voiced sup­port for the prin­ci­ple of build­ing such a venue. This inspires us to: • Keep work­ing to make some­thing hap­pen. • Re­visit ar­eas of pub­lic dis­con­tent. • Ex­plore other op­tions, to com­pare with our pre­ferred op­tion.

• Ques­tion the man­age­ment model and ques­tion the scheduling of court use.

• Ask the ques­tion… does the project in­clude enough ac­knowl­edg­ment of the his­tor­i­cal com­mit­ment by Hor­sham Am­a­teur Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion to Hor­sham Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium?

• Con­tinue to work with user groups, which have a direct in­ter­est in the project, and keep the wider com­mu­nity in­formed of our progress. It has been in­ter­est­ing to re­search the his­tory of the cur­rent sta­dium.

In the 1970s it was a part­ner­ship be­tween the State Gov­ern­ment, the lo­cal mem­ber of par­lia­ment, the City of Hor­sham, the bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­a­tion and other po­ten­tial sta­dium users that provided the foun­da­tion to the ex­ist­ing sta­dium.

Gen­er­ous State Gov­ern­ment grants to­talled $80,000 and three loans were taken out to pay for the project. The bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­a­tion paid off $40,000 plus in­ter­est. The as­so­ci­a­tion and the city coun­cil paid off $30,000 plus in­ter­est, and the coun­cil paid off $7500 plus loan in­ter­est. The sta­dium’s to­tal cap­i­tal cost in 1974 was $173,294. Other sports have con­trib­uted to the sta­dium through court-hire fees.

Over time, both the coun­cil and the bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­a­tion have paid for build­ing main­te­nance and im­prove­ments. This has been a part­ner­ship.

Ev­ery year since 2004, the coun­cil and the as­so­ci­a­tion have shared the re­pay­ments of a loan for $200,000.

Over and above this, the coun­cil has con­trib­uted an ex­tra $145,586 in var­i­ous forms of main­te­nance and im­prove­ments. The coun­cil’s to­tal spend­ing on the sta­dium since 2004 is $338,586.

Di­rectly linked to thoughts about build­ing the new sta­dium in a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion, are im­por­tant ques­tions.

If a new sports sta­dium was to be built ‘some­where’ in Hor­sham what would hap­pen to the bas­ket­ball sta­dium? Would the coun­cil be ex­pected to con­tinue to con­trib­ute money to main­tain and im­prove the ex­ist­ing build­ing? How would the bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­a­tion use the new sta­dium? Could the bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­a­tion af­ford to run the ex­ist­ing sta­dium on its own?

These are the dis­cus­sions that need to hap­pen. To guide the next steps, it would be good to re­call the project con­trol group and in­vite the bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­a­tion to join the con­ver­sa­tion.

We have a com­mit­ment to this project, which might not see any­thing hap­pen this year or even next year, but, it needs to hap­pen. – Cr Mark Rad­ford

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