A decade of debt for Campbelltown Leisure Centre upgrade (SA)

Eat Torrens Messenger

HOPEFUL: Norwood Flames president Peter Roberts hopes the Federal Govt will help fund the Leisure Centre upgrade. Picture: Noelle Bobrige H0286704

A $12 MILLION overhaul of the Campbelltown Leisure Centre will leave ratepayers in debt for at least 10 years – a price the council says will be worth it.

The upgrade of the Botanic Grove centre now hinges on securing federal funding after Campbelltown Council voted this month to proceed with the project despite a lack of State Government support at this stage.

The council sees the upgrade of the ageing leisure centre as so important, it is willing to go into debt for at least the next 10 years to fund its $6 million half of the project, so long as the Commonwealth chips in the rest.

The council had previously pinned its hopes on a $4 million contribution from the State Government but an email from the Sport and Recreation Office executive director Paul Anderson last month said funding could not be guaranteed by the application’s January 15 deadline.

As the East Torrens Messenger reported last November, the Leisure Centre redevelopment would include four full-sized basketball/futsal courts, aerobics, dance, cardio and weights rooms and a cafe.

There would be a focus on green technology, with solar panels, wind turbines and self-sufficient water systems.

State Swim and Squash SA are also keen to incorporate a 25m pool and squash courts into the final design.

The council says funding its portion of the $12m upgrade would have its debt peak at $20.4m in 2016, including borrowings for the $7m Campbelltown Library upgrade and $5m Newton Rd depot overhaul.

CEO Paul Di Iulio still hoped to secure some money from the State Government.

“Discussions are continuing between myself, the Department of Sport and Recreation and Member for Hartley Grace Portolesi to try to get some funding for the project,” he said.

“The centre is 40 years old and it needs an upgrade to meet the changing needs of our community.”

Mr Di Iulio said the council should know if its federal application is successful in the next few months.

Norwood Flames basketball president Peter Roberts hoped federal funding for the leisure centre upgrade would come through.

“If the upgrade doesn’t go ahead, we’ll continue to work with the council to support basketball at that facility, but we still won’t have a home,” he said.

“We get a bit disappointed when the State Government funds major facilities, like the $450 million for Adelaide Oval, and they can’t find the funds for regional projects.”

Futsal SA chairman Arthur Di Fede, whose organisation plays and trains at the centre, agreed: “To grow the sport for the benefit of the community we need this upgrade.”

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