THE announcement in Wednesday’s Manning River Times that Taree Leagues and Sports Club has applied for a $1.3m State government grant, and will lodge a DA for a grandstand and facility upgrade, has drawn a response from the chair of Wingham Sporting Complex Management Committee Mr Darrin Lewis as well as GTCC Committee chair Cr Alan Tickle.
Cr Tickle said he has no issue with the State government providing funding to upgrade the privately owned Jack Neal Oval provided there is similar support for publically owned grounds.
That was to be the message conveyed to Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead at a scheduled meeting with him and representatives of the GTCC Sport and Recreation Committee on April 23. However the meeting was postponed.
Representatives of the Sport and Recreation Committee cover the whole of the Local Government Area and collectively they represent the sports groups across the region.
Those representatives had prepared presentations for Mr Bromhead unveiling achievements and plans for development of publically owned facilities.
Amongst those presentations would have included a presentation from Mr Lewis on behalf of the Wingham Sporting Complex.
Mr Lewis has previously met with Mr Bromhead at Wingham Sporting Complex.
“I contacted Mr Bromhead’s office in response to his public support for the proposal to upgrade Jack Neal Oval, to discuss possible funding opportunities to upgrade the facilities at Wingham Sporting Complex.
“At this meeting, no funding promises were made, however it was highlighted that projects needed to be ‘shovel ready’ if we wanted to be in a position to apply for funding opportunities,” said Mr Lewis.
“It was further discussed that if we could get these projects DA approved or ‘shovel ready’, then we could submit the project for possible funding in next year’s State budget. As such, the Wingham Sporting Complex Management Committee, and Council will continue to work towards finalising the plans for these projects to enable a timely discussion with Mr Bromhead.”
Cr Tickle said that the Wingham Sporting Complex had been identified by the GTCC Sport and Recreation Committee as a priority for upgrade to position it as a regional stadium. Its existing infrastructure will enable an upgrade at a reasonable cost and the Wingham Sporting Complex Management Committee is working with council staff in developing plans.
“Darrin has received support from the whole of the GTCC committee on the proposal and he is working with Council staff to bring to DA stage,” said Cr Tickle.
“The combined view of the committee is that development plans for Wingham Sporting Complex, Taree Regional Recreation Ground and Johnny Martin Oval, would well position the area to hold high level events not only for football codes but other disciplines as well.”