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Headline: 55.8 per cent in favour

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385 people respond to the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre proposal survey

Many people in the district believe a sports centre will be an asset for the community and are in favour of the council’s plans to progress the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre project.

In November last year, the Naracoorte-Lucindale Council sought community feedback about whether to spend $8million on new basketball or netball facilities or $35million on a new sports complex.

People offered their feedback by writing to the council, attending community drop-in sessions, talking to one of their elected members, or voicing their opinion via the council’s website.

For public feedback, the council developed a community consultation plan, which included financial modelling to enable the community to understand what was being proposed and to highlight the financial implications for ratepayers.

The plan, including survey questions, was purely to get community feedback to enable consideration of any next steps.

A total of 385 people responded to the survey—341 responses online and 44 in writing—as the council heard in its January meeting.

According to the council, the number of respondents fell just shy of the record number of 396 survey responses received for the Naracoorte North Parklands Consultation in 2022.

As per the survey data, 55.8 per cent of the respondents were supportive of plans to continue progressing the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre proposal.

37.4 per cent of the respondents believe council should not pursue any of the project builds, however, the remaining 62.6 per cent collectively believe council should pursue the $8million project build, $35million project build, or either project build.

On the question of which project build ($8million on new basketball or netball facilities or $35million on a new sports complex) do you believe council should pursue, 23.1 per cent (89 respondents) preferred the $8million project build, while 32.2 per cent (124 respondents) preferred the $35million project build.

While it is clear from the number of survey responses that the Naracoorte & Districts Sports Centre is a valued asset in the community, respondents were not overwhelmingly supportive of plans to continue progressing the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre proposal, with just half of the respondents (55.8 per cent) indicating they want the council to follow this path.

According to the council, comments that came through repeatedly in the survey responses highlighted the following:

  • The community’s desire for an indoor pool (approximately 13 per cent of respondents made mention of this in their comments).
  • The Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre proposal was a poor choice of council expenditure in the current economic climate (approximately 8 per cent of respondents made mention of this in their comments).
  • The money needed for the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre proposal should be shared around to all communities in the council area (approximately 5 per cent of respondents made mention of this in their comments).
  • Upgrades to the facilities at the Naracoorte & Districts Sports Centre should be funded by the sporting clubs that use the centre.
  • Rather than pursuing the project builds, the council should assist with giving the Naracoorte & District Sports Centre a facelift.

According to the council, the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre project has been in consideration since 2019, and project concepts and designs have been through significant discussion and debate since then.

“Given the time and resources dedicated to this proposal, it’s clear that the council now needs to provide some clear direction to the community on the future of the proposal—either by committing to continue progressing plans or shelving them once and for all,” the council highlighted.

Cr Monique Crossling moved that the council hold a briefing session on the Naracoorte Regional Sports Centre community engagement outcomes and discuss future steps and intentions.

“We need to keep progressing this centre, as many of the responses suggested build it already or build it when they come,” Cr Crossling said.

She said she didn’t want all the work being done on the project over the last four-five years to be “just shelved”.

Cr Crossling hoped that the council could do more work and engagement on the proposal.

The motion was seconded by Cr Tom Dennis and carried.

Also, the time and date for a public meeting in the Naracoorte Town Hall regarding the proposal will be announced soon.

At the council’s December 19 meeting, Cr Peter Ireland won support for a public consultation meeting in the Town Hall.

After consulting with many people at random in the Kincraig Plaza, Cr Ireland learned a major section of the community had no information about the proposed multi-million spend.

No time and date were confirmed by mayor Patrick Ross and elected members when this edition went to press.

The proposal:

The $8million project, known as Option 1, is a standalone two-court indoor sports stadium containing two multi-sport courts.

Under this option, one of the courts would be a basketball/netball show court with fixed spectator seating.

The new stadium would also feature a community function room, canteen/kitchen, office, changerooms, and storage.

The existing basketball stadium would be retained, which would ensure ongoing availability for users.

A new carpark would need to be constructed along with an overflow carparking area to cater for times of high demand.

The $35 million project known as Option 2 is a new standalone two-storey complex providing four multi-use courts, separate modern changeroom facilities fit for all genders, an umpires room, a commercial kitchen, and a function room.

The Naracoorte News 21 February 2024

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

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