Precinct talks advance but council CEO silent on future plan
COUNCIL has refused to discuss future stages of the Fraser Coast Sport Precinct's despite holding a key meeting with Queensland's peak athletics organisation next month.
The Chronicle can reveal Queensland Athletics officials will travel to the Fraser Coast to meet with council in mid-January to discuss the inclusion of a tartan running track in a future stage of the sport precinct's development.
The meeting is expected to include discussions about the current state of athletics in the region, where two local associations and its members can utilise only grass tracks, and outline what would be required for the development of a high-quality, synthetic track at the multi-million dollar venue.
But repeated key questions to council CEO Ken Diehm have been ignored.
The Chronicle asked seven questions about the divisive development, including whether or not the plans published on the council website are accurate, whether or not the planned running track will contain a synthetic surface, and if there was any flexibility in the precinct plan.
Mr Diehm refused to answer any specific questions.
A response issued Tuesday was identical to that issued on November 16, in which Mr Diehm said "no further consideration has been made with respect to the development of further stages of the Sports Precinct”.
"All of our energies are currently being devoted to completing the current works by February,” Mr Diehm said in a statement.
"Council is developing leases with Hervey Bay Netball Association, Football Queensland and the Hervey Bay Oztag Sports Association to move in in February.
"Between them the three clubs have more than 2000 participants and are looking to expand.
"At present Council is focussing on the construction of two clubhouses, funded by a $1.1 million grant from Works for Queensland, and completing car-parking the ring road.”
Queensland Athletics CEO David Gynther told the Chronicle the state body was keen to work with both Hervey Bay Athletics Club and council to "design the most appropriate” athletics facility at the Nikenbah development.
A synthetic track would give our Invictus Games medal-winner Daniel "Stix” Parker, the young trio of track stars who competed at the Australian All Schools Championships in Cairns this weekend, and our growing base of junior athletes the chance to train and compete on the same level as athletes across the country.
If developed correctly, a synthetic track could allow Hervey Bay the opportunity to host big-ticket events like the Australian All Schools Champions and Oceania Masters.