Councillor defends sports plan and consultation process
THE Fraser Coast Regional Council has defended its push to establish a sports precinct - and its handling of the consultation process which was blasted by sports groups.
Responding to questions raised in the Chronicle's in-depth report earlier this week, the council said the current shortfall in Hervey Bay sports fields would worsen if unaddressed.
"Investigations show that the region should have two hectares of sports fields per 1000 people or 105.2 hectares for 52,619 people," sport, recreation, open space and events councillor Darren Everard said.
"That means there is a 16.2 hectare shortfall to meet current needs without planning for growth.
"If we do nothing then the shortfall continues to grow."
Cr Everard said the standard of current facilities meant the region was unable to attract major events and he defended the proposed location.
"Council does not have the spare funds to purchase land in (Dundowran-Eli Waters-Nikenbah).
"The cost of buying land in those areas would increase the cost to the ratepayer of this project, making it clearly unviable.
"The growth corridor is also towards the south ... the bulk of the population will be close to the precinct."
Cr Everard also hit back at the level of involvement the sporting clubs have had till now.
"We believe that we have been inclusive as possible and contacted as many clubs and groups as possible to outline the proposal and ask for their input.
"Until we could put all of the input together to develop a master plan there was not a lot of feedback we could give the clubs."
He said now was the time for people and groups to make comment.
Responding to fears from clubs they would lose income without the management of canteens, he said all would have access to canteens at hubs scattered across the precinct.
Cast your vote in our poll below before it closes at noon. So far, 62 votes have been cast with 72% against the plan.
Are you in favour of the new sports precinct in Urangan?
This poll ended on 26 July 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.