Hurdles cleared for sports precinct

Article image - Hurdles cleared for sports precinct At a sod turning for a Mackay Regional Sports Precinct are (from left) Mackay Athletics Club president James Grech, Mayor Greg Williamson, Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, CQUniversity Mackay’s Pierre Viljoen and Olympian Linda Single (nee MacKenzie).

There is now clear running for a multi-million-dollar Mackay Regional Sports Precinct to become a reality.

A sod turning has been held for the exciting new facility, a joint initiative between the Australian Government, Mackay Regional Council and CQUniversity.

The Australian Government and council have each contributed $10 million to develop stages 1A and 1B of the facility.  

CQUniversity has donated 12 hectares of land at its Mackay campus at Ooralea, valued at about $4.52 million, to house it.
Stages 1A and 1B will feature a synthetic athletics track and aquatic facility, both built to international standards.

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said construction of the new sporting complex would create jobs for the region.
“This new $20 million dollar sporting complex will provide the local community and region with the state-of-the-art facilities,” Minister Nash said.

Mayor Williamson described the sports precinct as a “win-win” for the community.

“The region will benefit for years to come as the new complex will offer not only modern sporting facilities, but also research capabilities, which will assist our students when completing their university degrees,” he said.

CQU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the facility would enrich the educational experience of regional students and provide strong links with the university’s research and education agendas in a variety of ways.

“It will also play a crucial role in attracting international students.”
The Expression of Interest process recently closed and council will now start the process of review and assessment of the submissions, with a view to shortlisting appropriately qualified head contractors to move to the next stage of the process.

The second stage will be tendering the works, from which a successful contractor will be selected. The contract is expected to be awarded by August, 2017, and it is anticipated construction of stages 1A and 1B will take about two years to complete.

Mackay Athletics Club president James Grech said athletics club members of all ages and abilities were looking forward to using the precinct.

“It will also be a great drawcard for schools to hold their athletics carnivals at the new facility and will enable the region to attract some state and/or national athletics events,” he said.

Mackay Olympic swimming gold medallist Linda Single (nee MacKenzie) said the facility would attract and retain sportspeople who would have previously moved away to pursue sporting careers.