Clubs in 'crisis mode' without Sport Precinct: council CEO
FRASER Coast council CEO Ken Diehm has described Hervey Bay's sports clubs as being in "crisis condition" due to lack of courts and fields.
His assessment comes as discussion heats up over the council's controversial Sport Precinct, expected to be a central topic at Wednesday's meeting.
A business plan for the complex is expected to be voted on by councillors.
But Mr Diehm revealed the council was considering providing leases to Hervey Bay's netball, OzTag and football groups to allow them to play at the Nikenbah complex from February next year.
It follows the council announcing they entered negotiations with the clubs about using the fields about three weeks ago.
"Those clubs in particular are suffering from a lack of facilities, OzTag doesn't have a home, and netball has more than 800 registered players and have had to cancel competitions and reduce the number of teams due to lack of facilities," Mr Diehm said.
"From my discussions with numerous clubs over the last few weeks, it's clear to me sporting clubs in Hervey Bay are in crisis mode through want of facilities.
"We have a number of clubs that cannot cater for existing demand and are unable to grow... (and) thousands of kids are prevented from playing sport."
Hervey Bay Basketball Association coach Glenn Jordan heads one of the clubs in dire straits and told the Chronicle the club was losing court time due to competition with other sport groups at the PCYC.
"Three years ago we had only 50 members, now we have up to 500 at a time," Mr Jordan said.
"Because we've grown bigger and bigger we end up fighting for courts with other clubs wanting to use the PCYC courts.
Hervey Bay's OzTag and football groups have also voiced concern about the lack of facilities creating problems for their competitions and games.
OzTag coordinator Glenn Hanson said the club's structure "hangs on a knife edge" because they were often unable to hire out the necessary fields.
Stage one of the complex involves the development of the netball courts and provision for football and OzTag.
Further stages will accommodate basketball and indoor sports for sports like fussball, as well as AFL, football, rugby league and athletics.
Mr Diehm said the terms and conditions of the lease were yet to be negotiated.
"One of the unfortunate things we have in our region is if you're an elite athlete and want to go further in your sport, you have to leave Hervey Bay - it's as simple as that," he said.
"What the Sport Precinct will do is allow aspiring and elite players to remain in Hervey Bay and still enjoy our lifestyle, and be members of the community while competing on the state and national stage."
Opponents of the project have repeatedly called for a business plan to be developed after it was green-lit in 2016.
During last month's meeting, councillors voted to allocate $1.8 million for the development.