Site decision for Coffs Harbour Regional Athletics Centre deferred again

Stakeholder indecision over whether to establish the future Coffs Harbour Regional Athletics Centre at Bruce Barnier Oval or York Street Oval has stalled the project once again. Photo: Emma Darbin.

 

DEBATE over the most appropriate site for the future Coffs Harbour Regional Athletics Centre continued at Coffs Harbour City Council’s recent meeting, with councillors once again advised by Council to choose York Street Oval as the site and councillors once again unable to make a decision on the issue.

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In July 2019, Council resolved to support in principle the establishment of a Regional Athletics Centre and to undertake a site selection investigation.

At Council’s meeting on 10 September, the proposed Regional Athletics Centre Site Selection report was provided to Council with two sites, Bruce Barnier Oval and York Street Oval, investigated and York Street Oval recommended as the preferred site.

Council resolved at this meeting to place the Regional Athletics Centre Site Selection report on public exhibition and received 51 submissions, with 23 submissions in support of Bruce Barnier Oval and 22 submissions in support of York Street Oval as the proposed site.

Following the public exhibition process Council staff once again recommended York Street Oval for the Coffs Harbour Regional Athletics Centre site, and recommended Council consider allocating $100,000 to develop a site master plan for York Street Oval.

A Council report on the matter stated that York Street Oval is able to continue to deliver a functional facility for district level football until such time as football moves to Moonee Sports Complex, and the site could also have the capacity to include community fitness and running facilities for use by the community in general.

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

At Council’s recent meeting conflicting opinion on the preferred site was heard from various stakeholders invested in the potential site, with North Coast Football General Manager Andrew Woodward and local athletics community representative Nicola Johstone both strongly opposed to the York Street Oval site, while Athletics NSW CEO Kirin Lindop and Little Athletics CEO Rebecca Shaw both spoke in support of the York Street Oval site.

Cr Keith Rhoades moved a new motion at the meeting for the matter to be deferred until a workshop can be held involving all users of York Street Oval, Bruce Barnier Oval, Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Precinct and the proposed Moonee Sporting Precinct.

“By doing this I believe it will be the first time that all of the users have the opportunity to get into a room in a workshop forum to be able to put it on the table and have answers given as to why or why not things can or cannot work,” Cr Rhoades said.

“I think at the end of the day after doing that we will find that a lot of the clouds over this will disappear.

“To me there’s still a lot of unanswered questions.”

Cr Rhoades also suggested that the Bray Street Complex could be another possible site to house the future Regional Athletics Centre.

“Why are we confining it also to just York St and the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park Precinct, mainly the Bruce Barnier Oval, when we haven’t really had anything else put on the table before us,” Cr Rhoades said.

“There is one suggestion that I think would have merit and that is the Bray Street complex, that also could be investigated at the workshop.”

At Council’s recent meeting on Thursday 10 December councillors unanimously agreed to defer the matter until a workshop can be held in early 2021 involving councillors, relevant staff and all users of York Street Oval, Bruce Barnier Oval, Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Precinct (including Advocate Park) and the proposed Moonee Sporting Precinct.

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

Athletics stakeholders are split over whether to place the future Coffs Harbour Regional Athletics Centre at Bruce Barnier Oval in the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Precinct. Photo: Emma Darbin.

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