WE HAVE KICK OFF: Sports Precinct officially opens today
TODAY, a new era of sport dawns on the Fraser Coast.
With the first stage of the controversial Fraser Coast Sports Precinct now complete, Reece Dowsett and and Logan Cowey will be among the first of the region's young athletes to play on the premier sport grounds today.
A community carnival will be held from 9am at the sport complex along Woods Rd today, with an official opening at 10am.
Fraser Coast councillor Stuart Taylor said the opening of the complex was "a long time coming” for the community.
"I think what has been achieved here is nothing short of fantastic,” Cr Taylor said.
"It is without question the best football fields and probably the best netball fields in regional Queensland at the moment.
"It's a bookmark in the history of the Fraser Coast, we'll look back at this time and see that this was the moment that some of our Australian netballers and Australian footballers were born from this base.”
The combined Under-9 and 10s teams from the Wide Bay Buccaneers Academy will be the first teams to play on the grounds at 9am.
These teams are part of the Buccaneers development program to improve young players in the four fundamentals of football, including first touch, 1v1, running with the ball and striking the ball.
Cr Taylor said it was a massive day for future athletes who hoped to build their sporting careers on the Fraser Coast.
"(They are) Under-9s and 10s who dream about being footballers,” he said.
"Now they've got a place to play, grow and develop.
"It's a great symbol that potentially the first people to put their boots on and run onto these pitches and play a real game, are the kids that will benefit the most more than anyone.
"Potentially one day, you'll be watching the TV and the world cup, you'll see a young lad or young girl run on and you will say 'I knew that kid, he or she was at the Sports Precinct.'”
Reece and Logan are also enthusiastic to start using the fields as their new training grounds.
"It's much better than the Tavistock St fields,” Reece said.
Under-15 and 16 Wide Bay Buccaneers players will take on the Brisbane-based Souths United team from noon.
The ALDI MiniRoos will also hold clinics and coaching courses on another field from 11am to give kids their first taste of football.
Hervey Bay Netball will also be taking sign-ons throughout the day.
Deputy mayor Darren Everard, who toured the site on Wednesday ahead of its opening, said the completion of the $11 million first stage was a significant milestone.
"The precinct will grow as our community grows, it's an investment for now and an investment for the future of Fraser Coast sport, leisure and entertainment,” Cr Everard said.