By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
AND the Woolgoolga people said: 'Let there be light.'
Very shortly, three new light towers will be delivered and installed at the east side of the Woolgoolga Sportsground.
With the aid of a capital assistance grant from the NSW Government and sponsorship from Country Energy, the funds to pay for such an expensive project were found.
While most of the work on getting the grant was done by Seahorses rugby league club committee member Peter Brown, he was quick to point out the project was undertaken for other sporting groups as well.
Others who will benefit from the installation of lights will be the high school, athletics and little athletics, touch football and junior league.
It was the diversity of users of the facility that attracted the sponsorship of Country Energy.
The company is supplying the three concrete light poles free of charge. Each of these poles costs $2500.
Acting regional manager Fiona Carick said Country Energy was more than happy to help with the project.
"It allows us to put something back into the community, with something used by the community," she said.
Carick admitted that the total investment given was unusually high but easily justified.
"For us to get involved this much, it obviously has to give benefits to a wide range of different sports," she said.
On top of the sponsorship, the government grant went a long way towards paying for the $21,000 bill.
Woolgoolga's application for the grant was ably assisted by the staff at the Coffs harbour Sports Unit.
Head of the unit, Ben Payne, said that while improvements to facilities help the users, the Sports Unit has a vested interest in assisting with the grant applications of all clubs, as it also benefits the city council in the long run.
Once the application was complete, state member Andrew Fraser ensured the grant went through at the Macquarie Street end.
"The sportsground is one of the best utilised facilities in the area, but it's been operating on a shoestring budget," Fraser said.
"To get the lighting out here provides a greater diversity of users of the ground."
As for the stakeholders, according to Peter Brown, they couldn't be happier.
"Having just the one set of lights, the main field has been wearing out, and then the ground was getting closed," he explained.
"This allows the community to have more field use, and be able to spread the usage."
The original western bank of lights were installed at Woolgoolga 16 years ago.
"It was a big deal back then, and it's probably an even big- ger deal now," Brown said.