Regional Athletics Centre workshop supports Bruce Barnier Oval site

A Council workshop has been held with sporting groups to discuss whether to position the future Regional Athletics Centre at York Street Oval or Bruce Barnier Oval. Photos: Emma Darbin.

 

COFFS Coast sporting groups supporting the placement of the future Regional Athletics Centre (RAC) at the South Coffs Harbour Sports precinct have been given hope following the holding of a workshop with Coffs Harbour City Council, local sporting organisations and stakeholders.

Council held the Regional Athletics Workshop for the local and visiting sports community on the proposed location of the future Regional Athletics Centre on Tuesday 27 April.

The workshop was attended by Coffs Harbour City Mayor Denise Knight, Deputy Mayor George Cecato, Cr Sally Townley, Cr Keith Rhoades and all major local sports organisations with a stake in the issue.

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Council resolved to hold the workshop to discuss the placement of the future Regional Athletics Centre following stakeholder indecision over whether to establish it at Bruce Barnier Oval or York Street Oval at the end of last year.

Council staff had last year advised councillors at two separate Council meetings to establish the Regional Athletics Centre at York Street Oval, however councillors were unable to make a decision on the issue.

York Street Oval is currently the home of the Northern Storm Football Club until it moves to the future Moonee Sporting Precinct.

North Coast Football general manager Andrew Woodward said the overwhelming view of participants attending the recent workshop was that the Regional Athletics Centre should be at Bruce Barnier Oval within the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Precinct.

“Local football and athletics believe the Regional Athletics Centre should be at South Coffs Harbour (Bruce Barnier Oval),” Mr Woodward said.

“Council officers are proposing the centre be at York Street.

“This is vehemently opposed by local football and local athletics.”

Mr Woodward said the objection to York Street was so strong at the workshop that one of the participants urged councillors to immediately dismiss York Street and instead focus on accommodating all of its interests with the South Coffs Harbour option.

According to Mr Woodward, of the fifteen stakeholders invited to speak at the workshop three were uncommitted or could work with either option of York Street Oval or Bruce Barnier Oval, three supported York Street and nine supported the South Coffs Harbour option of Bruce Barnier Oval.

“Football is the current anchor tenant of York Street and athletics is the anchor tenant of the proposed Regional Athletics Centre,” Mr Woodward stressed.

“South Coffs Harbour is made for a regional athletics centre.

“We should have what Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and the Gold Coast has – the majority of big sport sports in one place.”

The Northern Storm Football Club committee is also against the York Street Oval option and does not support a Council proposal for the club to share York Street Oval with the Regional Athletics Centre.

“Our club is strongly against the current shared proposal for York St as there are many significant issues & associated expenses required with this proposal,” the committee stated in it’s address at the workshop.

The committee instead called on Council to bring forward the Moonee Sports Complex proposal.

“Adding one more site into the mix & thereby giving all user groups sufficient space for quality facilities & future development,” the committee said.

“Council already has long term plans for both an RAC & the Moonee Complex, and we believe re-prioritising the timeline for these developments would solve all of the problems.

“This is an opportunity to provide football, athletics, all user groups & the community with dedicated long term facilities, all within Council’s own existing planning.”

The Regional Athletics Centre is proposed to comprise an international standard 400m multi-lane all weather synthetic-surfaced track and field facility.

A decision on the future placement of the new Coffs Harbour Regional Athletics Centre is expected to be made at an upcoming Council meeting.

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

One thought on “Regional Athletics Centre workshop supports Bruce Barnier Oval site

  1. The Bruce Barnier fields is a good solution for athletics, except for the fact Council doesn’t seem to have a plan for the fact that the site is already used by Hockey Coffs Coast for junior hockey.

    There’s a simple solution: as part of the project, build the proposed second synthetic hockey turf to the east of the existing hockey field. Every other city on the north coast already has 2 or more hockey fields, and a second field would make regular scheduling and event hosting possible, which would be a boost for local hockey, while freeing up the grass fields for athletics.

    Win/win.

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