$6 million to help create world-class sports grounds
LISMORE'S mayor has defended spending millions of dollars on upgrades to Crozier and Oakes ovals as the council struggles to deal with its $6 million budget black hole.
Cr Isaac Smith today joined sporting club representatives and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, who announced a $6 million upgrade of the ovals to create a Regional Sports Hub in Lismore.
Cr Smith said Lismore needed to look at generating ways to encourage more business for the town and sporting upgrades will benefit all levels of the community.
"This is all upside, no downside, no extra contribution from Council, this is all Federal funding," he said.
"For example on Sunday the AFL match at Oakes Oval will be televised all over Australia and it's going to put Lismore in front of around one million people."
Mr Hogan said the grant will allow Lismore to attract key sporting codes to hold pre-season and season matches at the facilities.
"The modelling says 20,000 new sports tourists will come to the city fans will visit Lismore every year generating $2.3 million annually," he said.
"So Council's contribution will be paid for in three years."
Mr Hogan said this latest grant will create the Lismore Regional Sports Hub and will cater for the needs of officials, players and spectators in rugby league, rugby union, cricket, soccer and AFL.
"This will be a total in the end of close to $15 million spent on this," he said.
"I've already given a couple (of million), the State (government) have gone in for $4.5 million and Council went in for $1.5 million for the first six, so council's contribution is very small."
The council's sports and development recreation development officer, James Voght, said he hopes to receive detailed drawings of the construction this week.
"Then we will call out for tenders and we will look at using local businesses wherever possible to commence around August or September this year," he said.
"Locals will have more chance as we will have an earth-working tender and an electrical tender and so on."
Mr Hogan said during the construction phase 21 direct jobs will be created.
Construction at Oakes Oval will include a terrace level to the rear of the main grandstand, new media and broadcasting facilities, corporate boxes, internal refurbishment to the Gordon Pavilion and the construction of new amenities.
Work under Stage 1 includes spectator arrival plazas, perimeter fencing, new women's change rooms and landscaping.
Stage 2 work at Crozier Oval will see the fit-out of a roof-top terrace, new national standard media and broadcasting facilities including scoring equipment, new amenities, function rooms, kiosk, lift, change room upgrade, construction of national grade cricket nets and a pedestrian bridge link to Oakes Oval.