News

Complex labelled a white elephant

DRAIN ON RESOURCES: The rear of the Sports Complex shows the problems faced with water removal on the playing fields.
DRAIN ON RESOURCES: The rear of the Sports Complex shows the problems faced with water removal on the playing fields. Digby Hildreth

VENTURE a few metres on to any of the playing fields at the new Sports and Cultural Complex in Ewingsdale Rd and the ground will turn squelchy under your feet.

Run 22 pairs of feet on it in boots for 90 minutes and it would start to resemble the Somme, a soccer insider told the Byron News.

The situation - a $17 million facility that remains largely unusable after three months - sees sports groups tearing their hair out in frustration - leading some to describe it as a "white elephant".

"The fields are holding water; it's not draining away," Sports Association president Paul Irwin said - despite nearly two weeks of sunshine and drying winds.

The waterlogging is a major reason sports groups have held off signing interim user agreements - at a seasonal charge of $780 per field.

Byron Shire Council's head of community infrastructure Phil Holloway admitted there was a problem.

"Council recognises there is still some dampness in some parts of the fields," he said.

"The council was aware of the concerns of some sporting groups and wanted to work with them. Council worked extensively with the Byron Sports Association during the planning and design to ensure the field contained facilities the community wanted."

But Mr Irwin said some suggestions about how the fields should be developed were ignored.

The association this week asked the council to order an independent assessment. An inspection of the fields this week found there was "some dampness within the top two inches of the soil, but underneath it was dry" - information which will be passed on to an independent expert "who can provide advice on the best way forward", Mr Holloway said.

Some sports groups have signed an interim user agreement with the council - the Little Athletics, who meet on Friday nights and use the raised running track, Suffolk Park Football

Club, who train there on Thursdays, as well as the Ultimate Frisbee players.

But soccer clubs such as Byron Bay are "desperate" for more space, according to one insider who, like others, did not want to be named.

The sports that meet inside the complex are not much better off.

Following lengthy delays for a new floor to be laid, it is likely to be another six weeks before a manager can be appointed, and the courts able to be used.

And the $700,000 hole in the Sports Complex budget, caused by emergency repairs to the Ewingsdale Rd roundabout, has yet to be filled.

"If funds are recovered, it will be up to councillors as to how they will be allocated," Mr Holloway said.

The net cost of the sports complex will be $519,300 next financial year.

Meanwhile, sporting groups are being asked to give feedback on the council's draft sportsfield user policy, which was amended to make schools exempt from paying a fee for normal weekly sport activities, but to charge $2 a student for competitions. Clubs will have to pay for electricity.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Hemp fan reaps what he sows

Stall assistant Bubaloo Fahy at the Hemp Foods Australia stall at Mullumbimby Farmers' Market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Businessman and campaigner celebrates legalisation of hemp as food

Chance to clean up for dragons

Ballina-on-Richmond Rotarian Col Lee with the washing machines and dryers for sale.

Whitegoods the key to fundraising drive

Matthias transported at age 13

Matthias Isaac Lewis in his later years. He drowned, aged 69, in 1885. PHOTO: ANCESTRY.COM

Convict made the most of his new life in Australia

Local Partners

Refugee 'unfairly' sacked from Byron Bay Superfoods

Fair Work Commission labels company "vindictive" after Sudanese Civil war victim sacked for complaining about being underpaid.

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

A ballet event of lovers and fairies in Byron Bay

ON STAGE: Byron Ballet's 10th anniversary production will be Shakespeare's A Midnight Summer's Dream.

Byron Ballet celebrates 10 years

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

BEN Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day in a joint announcement.

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!