Council refused $8 million to build 'toxic' sport precinct
MARYBOROUGH MP Bruce Saunders has labelled the Fraser Coast Sport Precinct as "toxic" in the community as State and Federal Governments refuse to fund the project.
The Fraser Coast Regional Council was unable to secure $6 million for the precinct from the Federal Government's National Stronger Regions Fund.
The State Government has also rejected a request for $2 million towards funding upgrades to Madsen and Woods Rd, adjacent to the precinct.
Mr Saunders was scathing of the sport precinct project after the State Government refused to provide the $2 million for adjacent road infrastructure.
"It's just toxic," he said.
"I don't see any money coming from us (State Government)."
Mr Saunders said the feedback he had received was showing the community was concerned.
"People are worried about further expenditure," he said.
"Let's have a look at the sporting facilities we've got now and how we can improve them into the future."
Mayor Gerard O'Connell has reassured ratepayers they will not foot the entire cost of the Sport Precinct after the council's application for funding was rejected.
"In time as the story evolves and as the community drives this State and Federal Governments will see the merit," he said.
"The commitment I and we as a council have made is the total (project cost) will not be funded by ratepayers."
Seeking developer contributions and corporate support, Cr O'Connell said the council would only spend $10 million of ratepayer money on the project.
Budget documents show $5 million has already been allocated to the project in each of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years.
The funding rejections come as a committee was formed to drive community support for the precinct.
Chaired by Hervey Bay doctor Shaun Rudd and tasked to drive the precinct forward, the Sport Plus Project committee was formed.
Dr Rudd, who is often critical of the region's high obesity and unhealthy lifestyle, said the precinct would go toward combating the harmful trend.
"When you've got a place like Hervey Bay and Maryborough with high rates of obesity... the more options we can give for all age groups to play sport, the better," he said.
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt would not be drawn on the feasibility of the sport precinct, leaving that to the council.
"What council elects to put up (for federal funding) is entirely up to them," he said.
"Unfortunately it wasn't successful this time around; I'm still waiting to hear on the reasons for that."