Council rules out York Street Oval as future Regional Athletics Centre site

Significant issues with both York Street Oval and Bruce Barnier Oval have caused Council to seek a new greenfield site for the future Regional Athletics Centre. Photos: Emma Darbin.

 

SIGNIFICANT issues with placing a future Regional Athletics Centre at both York Street Oval and Bruce Barnier Oval have been acknowledged by Coffs Harbour City councillors, with a new greenfield site now to be investigated as a possible future site.

Councillors debated the long-running controversial issue for more than an hour at Council’s meeting on Thursday 8 July.

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Nicola Johnstone spoke at the meeting on behalf of the local and regional athletics community urging councillors to place the Regional Athletics Centre (RAC) at Bruce Barnier Oval, within the Coffs Harbour Sport and Leisure Park.

“The option of a greenfield site will delay the process significantly as it takes the RAC back to square one,” Ms Johnstone stressed to councillors.

“We have been there before, we’ve moved on, we don’t need to go backwards.

“The greenfield site will also be significantly more costly than any other option.”

Ms Johnstone stated that Bruce Barnier Oval was the most logical site for the RAC.

“It is the least expensive option and it is the only option which will see the RAC established in the near future,” she said.

North Coast Football General Manager Andrew Woodward also expressed his frustration with Council at the meeting.

“It’s nearly six months to the day since I was last here and in those six months sadly little has changed,” Mr Woodward said.

“We’re further away from an answer today than we were six months ago.

“We’re concerned, we’re frustrated and we’re disappointed.”

Mr Woodward called on councillors to select Bruce Barnier Oval as the site for the Regional Athletics Centre and to rule out the Moonee Sports Complex site as a potential greenfield site.

“Putting a RAC at Moonee would be a disaster for sport on the Northern Beaches,” he stressed.

“We can have the Regional Athletics Centre at Bruce Barnier Oval, the Moonee Sports Complex can be had sooner rather than later and we can keep all current visiting events.”

Mr Woodward stated that at a recent Regional Athletics Centre Stakeholder Workshop only one out of 15 stakeholders, Oztag, was against placing the RAC at Bruce Barnier Oval.

“This Council has done a great job with the Stadium precinct, but you need to finish the job,” he said.

“The missing piece of the Stadium precinct is the Regional Athletics Centre.”

Cr Sally Townley moved an alternate recommendation that Council reject York Street Oval as a possible site for the RAC and investigate another greenfield site and compare this site’s suitability against Bruce Barnier Oval.

“I think everyone in this Council wants to commit to the idea of a Regional Athletics Centre,” Cr Townley said.

“To locate the facility at York Street doesn’t suit anyone particularly well; the York Street site has a lot more demands on it in the future.

“Is there a greenfield site out there that we don’t know of, maybe.”

Cr Townley said any future greenfield site needed to be compared against the Bruce Barnier Oval site.

“I think that Bruce Barnier needs to stay on the table and be compared to a new site so that we can really stack it up,” she said.

“It’s not ideal to seek a greenfield option, but I guess what it does do is make sure that we’ve considered every possible option.”

Cr Paul Amos called on Council to seek a formalised commitment from Oztag for its continued use of Coffs Harbour Stadium Sports fields, and for Council to liaise with the State Government to identify State Government controlled lands suitable for a synthetic athletic facility.

Council staff stated during the meeting that both Oztag and touch football had multi-year agreements in place with Council for the use of the Coffs Harbour Sports fields and that they had expressed their intent to continue these agreements in the future.

Cr Keith Rhoades called for the Council report on a potential greenfield site for the RAC to come back to Council as soon as possible.

“I want it concluded, the sports want it concluded, those who are currently users of the facility want to know about their long term plans and goals that they want to put in to place, plus those that want to grow their sport, such as North Coast Football, such as the athletics community, they all want to know where they’re going,” Cr Rhoades stressed.

Cr John Arkan agreed that the Council report on a potential greenfield site must come “sooner than later”.

“If we can get that happening I think there will be a lot of happy sport people,” he stated.

Cr Micheal Adendorff moved to select Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park, including adjacent leased areas if available, as the site of the future Regional Athletics Centre, however this was defeated 6 votes to 2.

“We’ve heard so many reasons why this is the correct location for the Regional Athletics Centre which we all want,” Cr Adendorff said.

“Let’s stop denying ourselves and let’s just grab it while we can.

“Let’s please grab the moment.”

Councillors instead resolved 6 votes to 2 to investigate a Council owned greenfield site including Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park and adjacent leased areas for a Regional Athletics Centre, and to consider the allocation of $40,000 at the next quarterly budget review to progress the site selection and preliminary concept planning.

Council will also consider a further report with a recommended greenfield site location and assessment with a comparison against Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park, seek a formalised commitment from Oztag for continued use of Coffs Harbour Stadium Sports fields, and liaise with the State Government to identify State Government controlled lands suitable for a synthetic athletic facility.

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

Significant issues with both York Street Oval and Bruce Barnier Oval have caused Council to seek a new greenfield site for the future Regional Athletics Centre. Photos: Emma Darbin.

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