Additional funding secured for Connell Park precinct enhancement

Member for Oxley Michael Kemp.

BELLINGEN Shire is set to benefit from a significant investment in community sports facilities, thanks to the latest funding announcement made by the NSW Government.

Member for Oxley Michael Kemp surprised attendees at the Connell Park netball court’s official opening on Saturday 18 May, with news of a substantial allocation towards further improvements in the Connell Park precinct.

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The NSW Government, through the 2023/24 Level the Playing Field Program, has awarded Bellingen Shire a grant totaling $594,231.

This injection of funds marks a significant boost for the community and is earmarked for enhancing the sports facilities at Connell Park.

“Today, we have some exciting news to share regarding additional funding from the NSW Government through the 2023/24 Level the Playing Field Program,” Mayor Cr Steve Allan said.

“This funding is a significant boost for our community and will go towards further enhancing our sports facilities at Connell Park through significant upgrades to the lighting system.

“We have recently made several improvements to the Connell Park precinct, including a new footbridge, upgrades to the Bellingen Swimming Pool and the addition of state-of-the-art netball courts, as we strive to achieve the community’s vision for the facility.

“This additional funding will complement further works to come, such as several new amenities and new public toilets, which will transform Connell Park into an incredible asset for all Bellingen Shire residents to enjoy.”

The Level the Playing Field Program is a statewide initiative aimed at revitalising sports facilities by providing funding for new or upgraded amenities, sportingfields, and lighting systems.

Member for Oxley Michael Kemp emphasised the importance of inclusivity in sports, stating, “The funding aims to also support the provision of new and upgraded lighting that will enable more women and girls to train and compete in sport in a safe and inclusive environment.”

The allocated funding will enable Bellingen Shire Council to expand smart field lighting systems at Connell Park, extending the hours of use for various sporting codes.

Furthermore, the provision of access lighting between the forthcoming amenity building and the parking area at Connell Park will not only enhance safety for night users of the new netball courts and sporting fields, but also ensure a welcoming and secure environment for all participants.

Works include building multi-sport amenity building complete with accessible showers and toilets, a modernised canteen, and club storage room.

Enhanced drainage systems will ensure year-round playability of the fields and with the addition of new hard netball and basketball courts.

“This funding represents a significant investment in our community’s sports infrastructure.

“We are grateful for the support from the NSW Government and look forward to seeing the positive impact these improvements will have on sports participation in Bellingen Shire,” Mayor Cr Steve Allan added.

Works are scheduled to commence later in the year.

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