A MULTI-MILLION dollar sport and recreation complex will be built to service the growing population belt west of Newcastle, under a plan set to go before Newcastle Council on Tuesday.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the long-term vision was to create a first-class sporting precinct in Maryland that could rival National Park at Cooks Hill.
But the plans hinge on whether councillors agree to accept the transfer of a 15.5-hectare parcel of land at 40 Creek Road, that has been offered up by mining company Glencore free of charge.
Fletcher Park would also be absorbed into the precinct, taking its total size to about 20 hectares.
Including the construction of a “special event venue”, the staged development would take between five and 10 years.
A $12 million concept plan designed by ADW Johnson includes soccer and AFL playing fields, cricket pitches, 180 parking spaces, a playground, cycle paths and an amenities block.
However Cr Nelmes said it was only a “mud map” and what was offered at the complex would be decided after community consultation. A grandstand, netball and tennis courts were also in the mix, she said.
“Because it is adjacent to the Hunter Wetlands National Park, we’re looking at things like boardwalks through the low-lying areas,” she said.
A masterplan would be developed to link the complex to the sporting facilities at Callaghan College, Federal Park and Wallsend pool, and to the Wallsend CBD through pedestrian pathways.
“This will give us enough land to create an area that we can turn into a showpiece of sporting facilities for all of the western suburbs of Newcastle,” Cr Nelmes said.
The city already has six large-scale sporting complexes, but the furthest west is at New Lambton.
If the deal goes ahead, the Wallsend New Lambton Pony Club will eventually need relocation and council will have to pay $5000 to $10,000 in land transfer costs. However a staff report stressed it was unlikely another suitable site could be found in the Fletcher/Minmi area, which is forecast to grow in population from over 11,000 in 2011 to nearly 28,000 by 2036.