New stadium conversation
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