Players of all kinds are cheering thanks to a $2.8 million windfall to expand Port Macquarie Indoor Sports Stadium.
The money, announced in Tuesday night’s federal budget, will be used to build two more courts at the facility, a plan that has been in play for years.
Stadium manager Clay Coad said the extra space will allow more sporting groups to use the facility at the same time, which will be particularly beneficial during winter.
Mr Coad said the expansion would help boost the stadium’s standing and be in line with other regional centres such as Tamworth and Coffs Harbour.
In turn, he said, that would attract more sporting clubs and events to Port Macquarie.
While he welcomed the funding for two more courts, Mr Coad said an extra court would be ideal because the facility then could meet Australian Basketball Championship standards.
“There are so many more events we could hold at the stadium if we had six courts, so I hope to discuss this with the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council,” he said.
During a school futsal tournament with about 100 teams on Wednesday, Viking Futsal development officer Alison Fazzolari said the extra space would be great for a range of sports.
“Often we have to use school venues or go outside because there isn’t enough room in here, so the extra courts will help a lot,” Mrs Fazzolari said.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council administrator Neil Porter said the upgrade had been a long time coming.
“This allocation means we can now move ahead with reviewing designs and costings to potentially deliver an expanded facility that can accommodate local and national competitions, as well as non-sporting events,” Mr Porter said.
Funding for the redevelopment will be allocated over the next two years.
The plans have been delayed for almost a decade because of lack of funding.
The original plans in 2005 included two new basketball courts, four squash courts, spectator seating, a meeting room, an amenities storeroom and car parking.
Back then, the estimated cost was $2.5 million, but because of rising costs over the years, the plan has been scaled down slightly.