Plans for upgrade

WINGHAM Sporting Complex's management committee hopes plans that are currently being drawn up will result in funding becoming available to upgrade facilities there.

The committee will be seeking funds in next year's State government budget. Committee chairman Darren Lewis has met with Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead on the matter.

Mr Lewis said the plans should be complete by November after which the committee will apply for funding. Mr Lewis said between $900,000 and $1.4 million will be required to complete the project.

This will include extending the dressing sheds while also upgrading the grand stand; demolishing the current canteen and replacing it with a new one with a function centre on top; additonal fencing; building a new international field where the now unused velodrome is located at the rear of the complex-proper. The car park would also be extended and sealed.

"We've been working with council's sport and recreation committee and we have their support,'' Mr Lewis said.

The sporting complex was opened in 1977 after the then Wingham Municipal Council successfully gained money through the federal government Regional Employment Development (RED) scheme. Work started in October 1976 and the field was in play the following April, when Wingham played Taree United in a Group Three Rugby League game.

However, Mr Lewis pointed out that no major works have been carried out there since then. Any improvements have been largely carried out by user groups, mainly the Wingham Tigers Rugby League Club.

The complex is now the headquarters for the Wingham senior and junior rugby league clubs, Wingham Soccer Club, Wingham touch football while the Manning Valley Kart Club is also based there and Wingham senior and junior cricket clubs plays matches on the Ken Malpass Field.

However, Mr Lewis said if upgraded, the complex could be used for special one-off events for any organisation in Greater Taree.

"If for example, Football Mid North Coast wanted to play their grand finals there, we'd just have to change the goal posts,'' he said.

"It would be an affordable ground that won't cost thousands of dollars to hire. It would be there for the community to use.

"We'd probably set it up in the same way as the Regional Stadium at Port Macquarie, where the principal users would get the first use of the ground, but other groups could hire it.''

He said it would also have the capacity to host NRL or A-League trial games. No such matches have ever been played in Wingham.

However, Mr Lewis added that importantly it would provide decent facilities for players and spectators who regularly use the complex.

Darrin Lewis with plans for an upgrade at Wingham Sporting Complex

Darrin Lewis with plans for an upgrade at Wingham Sporting Complex

The story Plans for upgrade first appeared on Manning River Times.

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