Mackay's new athletics facility shows what Coast could have
MILLIONS of vital tourism dollars will end up in Mackay after the opening of a state-of-the-art recreational facility.
Fraser Coast Regional Council CEO Ken Diehm has refused to be drawn on future stages of the Fraser Coast Sport Precinct, and when asked several specific questions about an athletics track at the multi-million dollar development on two separate occasions, he, through council's media team, issued an identical response.
"All of our energies are currently being devoted to completing the current works by February," he said.
The Chronicle revealed yesterday Queensland Athletics officials will meet with council in mid-January about plans for a running track at the divisive development.
QA CEO David Gynther will work with council and Hervey Bay Athletics Club to design "the most appropriate" athletics track at the Woods Rd, Nikenbah, site.
Mr Gynther told the Chronicle the total cost would depend on the site as well as any existing infrastructure, but the benefits were not limited to just athletics.
"We find (synthetic tracks) increase usage across the board and while there's focus on high-end stuff, the benefit is across all sports," Mr Gynther said.
"It's great for school carnivals which can lead to higher participation in sport.
"(Cost) really depends on the site and what they want to build. You need more infrastructure than just the track, like grandstands and rooms for officials, but some of those things can be done with temporary structures."
While the council maintains its silence about the Fraser Coast Sport Precinct's future, Mackay council is just two months from opening its own state-of-the-art facility.
Work on the athletics track at the Mackay Aquatic and Recreation Complex (ARC) has recently been completed, and plans are already being made to host a major international athletics meet which will bring millions of vital tourism dollars to the North Queensland city.
The Oceania Masters Athletics Championships, which will be held in Mackay next September and run for one full week, is expected to attract athletes from New Zealand, French Polynesia, and the Cook Islands.
Mackay councillor Ross Gee said the track, built as a $23.9 million sporting precinct which was a collaboration between Mackay Regional Council, CQUniversity and the Australian Government, cost $8 million.
"Having these types of sporting facilities gives local athletes the opportunity to train at an elite level in their own backyard," Cr Gee said.
"Local athletics clubs were eager to have the track included as part of the initial works and this facility has already secured the 2019 Oceania Masters Athletics Championships in September, which brings several economic benefits."