Arkinstall Park: There are plans to turn it into a regional sporting hub.
Arkinstall Park: There are plans to turn it into a regional sporting hub. Blainey Woodham

Sport park has $42m future plan

MORE than $2.4 million is to be spent kick-starting a plan to turn Arkinstall Park in Tweed Heads South into a regional sporting hub despite claims that koalas have been left out of the picture.

Tweed Shire councillors voted six-to-one on Tuesday to adopt a masterplan which has been seven years in the making and proposes turning Arkinstall Park, which adjoins Tweed River High School, into a $42 million-plus regional sports complex.

Staged development is to include a regional tennis centre, indoor sports stadium a major new clubhouse, multi-use fields with grandstands and floodlighting, health and fitness facilities and improved community amenities such as barbecues.

To kick off the redevelopment, which is planned to continue until 2022, councillors voted to spend over $2.4 million from a $3.2 million nest egg of developer fees saved specifically for “active open space”.

The funds are to be spent on facilities including new car parking, tennis courts, resurfacing and lighting the netball courts plus tree planting.

But Greens Party councillor Katie Milne was not happy with the plan suggesting koalas had been forgotten.

“I understand it is a potential koala area,” she said, asking what provision had been made for the animals.

Cr Milne said the sports complex would also be “a very dense development” adding: “There seems very little room for vegetation”.

Engineering and operations director Patrick Knight said once the councillors voted to push ahead with the project officers would move to a new planning phase “where these issues will be taken into account”.

He said Arkinstall Park provided 12 hectares of flat, flood-liable land which was ideal for sporting use.

“It’s a good news story – a combination of seven years planning by this council.”

Cr Dot Holdom was enthusiastic in her support for the project.

“I maintain it’s the best thing since sliced bread to have it in this area,” she said.

Council staff estimated the total cost of implementing the master plan at $42,033,255 in today’s money but say it is not anticipated the indoor sports stadium and grandstand will be built “until at least another 10 years”.

However they told councillors adopting the masterplan “reserves the footprint for these facilities” and would help in seeking any grants money.

Council staff said the main issues raised by the community in response to the draft masterplan were concerns about traffic and pleas for more “passive recreation” areas in the park.

The plan had been amended to include more internal tree plantings and family recreation areas including barbecues, play equipment and picnic facilities.

The main traffic impacts would not occur until the indoor sports centre and grandstand were built and that would not be before Kirkwood Road extensions are completed.

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