Community urged to ‘make a splash’ to secure sports centre development

GET IN THE GAME: A steering committee representing four of the city’s major sporting codes – basketball, netball, tennis and swimming – will aim to collect 20,000 signatures in 20 days in a show of support for the construction of a regional multi-million dollar indoor/outdoor sports and recreation centre.

FITNESS throughout the colder months could become a lot easier for Mount Gambier residents in the near future as community members rally together on a major petition.

A steering committee formed at a community meeting last month has sparked conversation throughout the region as they aim to secure funding for a major sporting centre in the city.

The group – which represents four of the city’s major sporting codes – is hoping to secure 20,000 names on a petition within 20 days in the push for a multi-million dollar indoor/outdoor sports and recreation centre in Mount Gambier..

The petition will be presented to Mount Gambier City Council ahead of a bid for federal funding due on April 30.

“Council will submit an application for the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund,” committee spokesperson Nathan Stratford said.

“We want to present them with 20,000 signatures to show the community supports the idea.”

Around 300 people packed the auditorium at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre at a public meeting last month in a show of support for the project.

The 300 in attendance unanimously endorsed the formation of a steering committee to progress the development.

“Our initial working group has now expanded to around 25 of us on the committee,” Mr Stratford said.

“We have distributed petitions to businesses on the main street, the city’s two shopping complexes and as far as Penola and Millicent.

“The proposed indoor/outdoor sports and recreation centre will be a regional facility so it is important our surrounding communities are on board too.”

A groundswell of community support for the project was ignited by an initial grassroots campaign and coincided with discussion at City Council meetings.

Council announced last month it would allocate $30,000 in this year’s budget towards concept plans and feasibility studies.

“Previously the project has been abandoned because council members felt they didn’t have that social licence,” Mr Stratford said.

“Our committee is purely focused on community engagement – we need to put the council in a position where they know undoubtedly that the community wants this facility.”