Massive injection for sport

By PETER CATON

NEARLY $25 million is to be spent on turning an ordinary Tweed sportsfield into a regional sports centre, complete with stadium, and upgrading other local sports facilities.

The plans, on public display until February, include millions of dollars to be spent on Arkinstall Park in the back streets of South Tweed Heads, west of Tweed Heads South Primary and Tweed River High schools.

Despite the near-$25 million price tag, the council's recreation services manager Stewart Brawley described the plan as practical and said it would go before the administrators in February.

He said the cost would be met under a 20-year plan using developer contributions. Those fees, collected since 2002 and earmarked for regional sports and recreation facilities, are expected to total $23.5 million by 2022.

Mr Brawley said the shortfall could be made up from either the council works budget or by increasing the developer fees.

"It's practical," he said. "We've done a review of what is and what type of regional facilities would be required over 20 years."

Mr Brawley said if the administrators agreed some of the facilities were required in the short term, the funds could be borrowed "with surety the income is coming in to pay it off".

The extra cost of borrowing could be met by raising the level of developer contributions.

Mr Brawley said Arkinstall Park would become a regional hub, and if the administrators gave the overall plan the goahead in February a detailed site plan and feasibility study for the park would be prepared.

The regional Sports and Recreation Facility Plan being put on public display until February proposes a range of regional facilities at Arkinstall Park, upgrading the Murwillumbah pool complex, building a clubhouse and viewing area for the Murwillumbah Hockey fields, and upgrading the Piggabeen soccer complex.

Within three years spending at Arkinstall Park would include:

l $840,000 on seven high-standard tennis courts, fencing and shelters

l $2.6 million for a multi-user two-storey clubhouse

l $3.5 million on an indoor sports complex with seating for 300 people

Within four to eight years:

l $1.7 million for a 500-seat cov- ered grandstand

l $630 on a seven-court regional netball complex with lighting

l $1.4 million on expanding the clubhouse



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