Wiilgulga Sports Complex to host Official Open Day

Daniel Heather, Group Leader City Prosperity, City of Coffs Harbour, showing media around the foyer space within the Multipurpose Centre.

THE versatility and myriad user opportunities provided by the Wiilgulga Sports Complex bodes auspiciously for the whole Coffs Coast community, and beyond.

Everyone is encouraged to go along and see for themselves at the Official Opening and Community Open Day on Saturday 3 December from 10am until 2pm where you can walk around and watch sports sessions in action.

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“There’s excitement and anticipation for the day,” Daniel Heather, Group Leader City Prosperity, told News Of The Area on site last week, Friday 25 November.

With an all-inclusive approach, the project has been fulfilled through a team effort including the experienced Populous architects who “brought so much to the table, engaging with the community” to City of Coffs Harbour’s project managers and the Project Steering Committee including members of local dance groups, the Sikh community, schools and sports groups.

While sports is in the name of the complex, the main building, the Wiilgulga Multipurpose Centre, is just that, including a multi-functional space with a huge stage and retractable sports features to provide a “beautiful big open space for performances”, said Daniel.

All manner of indoor sports are catered for with changing rooms and viewing stands.

The space can also be switched into a carpeted show hall or banquet room seating 700 people, with backstage facilities including a green room.

First and foremost, Wiilgulga Sports Complex is providing a ‘they’ve thought of everything’ facility for local sport and active recreation.

Along with the community hub providing economical spaces that can be used in different ways, the building can offer group fitness classes, yoga, pilates, meditation, meetings, functions, weddings, exhibitions and performances.

Outside facilities incorporate playing fields to suit senior and junior AFL and cricket, cricket training nets, exercise equipment and the first public pump track in the Coffs Harbour region.

The Multipurpose Centre includes a sports hall that features two multi-sport courts which can be used for basketball, netball, futsal, volleyball, badminton and pickleball.

Here is where the stage and dressing rooms are.

Across the hallway are the three Sangeet Rooms, sangeet translating to ‘dance, meet, celebrate, sing’, which are flexible spaces for group fitness classes, meetings, functions and workshops.

“It’s a balance of being robust for sports yet soft enough for seminars and yoga,” said Daniel.

The Sangeet Rooms can be neatly partitioned off into individual rooms or opened to the one big space which also opens out onto an outside area.

There is a large commercial kitchen kitted out to cater for all manner of food and beverage needs, from weddings to a cup of tea.

Talking tea, the café partner is Artisti Coffs Roasters, the Toormina-based coffee experts.

Artistii Trainer Jay Hawk has been sharing barista skills with City of Coffs Harbour Food and Beverage staff who will be servicing the foyer café.

Access and inclusion were key priorities for the project.

This is provided through a range of facilities including a platform lift and ramp access to the stage, changing places for those with disabilities, a sensory room, wide access corridors and pathways.

The name Wiilgulga is used in respect for local Gumbaynggirr heritage and culture.

Wiilgulga, pronounced wee-gill-gah, is the original name for Woolgoolga and refers to the black apple tree which is found on the site.

City of Coffs Harbour worked in partnership with the National Aboriginal Design Agency to secure a local artist through an EOI process.

Mullaway-based Gumbaynggirr creative Tulli Stevens created an artwork she named Gawbarri, meaning ‘meet, get together, gather’.

Themes of this piece can be seen used on different surfaces throughout the complex, including a huge colour print in the foyer and café space, laser cut into the external metal façade and on signage and glass.

The Wiilgulga Sports Complex was jointly funded by the Australian Government, NSW Government and the City of Coffs Harbour, with additional features paid for by local community organisations.

It’s a must-see offering, with a public viewing at your leisure on Saturday 3 December.

The site is located on the western side of Solitary Islands Way, nearly opposite the Centenary Drive entrance to Woolgoolga High School.


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