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Sports park pitches its plans to council

By Mark Beale

A decision by Whitsunday Regional Council is the lynchpin which will decide the fate of the planned upgrade of the Whitsunday Sportspark in Jubilee Pocket.

Representatives from the Sportspark invited mayor Jennifer Whitney and the region’s two mayoral candidates to consider pledging $750,000 to the park over a three year period.

The granting of this “seed capital” would better enable the park to successfully apply to the Queensland Government for their Get Playing Plus grant.

Submissions for this grant close on April 1.

Whitsunday Sportspark secretary Justin Butler said it would need to be the first order of business once the new local government was elected after March 19.

Mr Butler said the park’s plans received strong verbal support.

“Our challenge over the next two weeks in the run up to the election is to ask them some very specific questions about whether they will vote, if elected, to stump up the $750,000 to get it all happening,” he said.

Mr Butler said the investment by council in the upgrade project could see the Whitsunday region with a state-of-the-art sport facility worth $4.5 million if state and federal funding came through.

“We reckon we can achieve six to one leverage on the spending of ratepayers’ money,” he said.

Mr Butler said there was strong support for the Sportspark’s plans but… “crunch time will come at their very first council meeting after the elections, when it will be vote time”.

Though an extension on the April 1 Get Playing grant deadline could be sought, Mr Butler did admit the timing was tight. “This is not something that council can muck around with for three or four months,” he said.

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