Clubs should help foot bill for Sports Precinct: councillor
A FRASER Coast councillor has claimed the region's sporting groups should help foot the bill for the construction of the Nikenbah Sports Precinct to help stem council spending.
Councillor Denis Chapman made the explosive claim as the council continues to make ground on the controversial development, with oztag and netball groups set to move to the site early next year.
Earlier this year, the Fraser Coast Regional Council confirmed it was in lease negotiations with Hervey Bay Netball Association, Hervey Bay Oztag and Football Queensland Wide Bay to move to the precinct once the netball courts and first fields are completed.
But Cr Chapman, who has been a long-standing opponent of the project, told the Chronicle he felt the clubs which would benefit from the project should help contribute to the development and management of the site.
He did not elaborate on how much should be contributed but said the money shouldn't entirely come from the council's budget.
"The community has always had a precedent set where sporting land is leased and they go and do all the work, it's been like that for years," Cr Chapman said.
"What I find is all the sporting bodies out there are getting all these facilities, like clubhouses and fields, given to them.
"My biggest concerns are how sporting clubs have not paid any money and sporting bodies have not come forward to support it.
"So until we start seeing some funding start coming from these bodies, it will be very hard for me to support the development."
But sporting groups have said they are already making arrangements to help manage the precinct, whether through grants or by financial contribution, once the leases with the council are confirmed.
Football Queensland Wide Bay General Manager Peter Guest said there was "no way" for clubs to pay the kind of money needed for the construction of the multi-million dollar project.
He said responsibility of running the grounds would be held by the sporting groups through leases, which would allow them to apply for grants and help fund equipment or upgrades.
"From a history of facilities being built, the cost of running the facility is taken on board once leases are signed," Mr Guest said.
"I don't know how you can ask sport group to help fund or run it when they haven't got a lease yet."
Hervey Bay Oztag President Glenn Hanson said a funding arrangement with the council was already being planned.
"I know for the further development of the Oztag fields we're putting in applications for grant funding in conjunction with the council," Mr Hanson said.
Hervey Bay Netball Association President Eddie Anderson said a similar arrangement once their lease was finalised, including member contributions for "finishing construction and fitting out the clubhouse and grandstand seating" was in discussion.
A business case for the development, received by the council in July, revealed an option to build a 10,000-person stadium to host major events and competitions at the venue. If the stadium is built, the precinct would inject about $48 million into the Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gympie and North Burnett economies each year.