Planning is under way for a multi-million-dollar basketball and indoor sports centre in Lake Macquarie.
Lake Macquarie City Council staff have recommended setting aside an unused parcel of council-owned land at Hillsborough for the next 12 months while further investigations are carried out into the feasibility of building what they said would be the Hunter region’s premier indoor sports centre on the site.
The new facility - between Waratah Avenue and the Newcastle Inner City Bypass – would comprise 10 basketball courts, including a regional-scale centre court with seating for up to 4000 fans.
It would also provide a new home for Newcastle Basketball.
Mayor Kay Fraser said quarantining the site from development would allow Newcastle Basketball to further investigate the proposal.
“It is still early days, but a new state-of-the-art basketball centre in the heart of Lake Macquarie would cement our city’s standing as the region’s epicenter for youth and senior sport,” Cr Fraser said.
“It would also help grow sporting participation in our city, not just with basketball but netball, wheelchair sports, volleyball, school sport and futsal.
“This will significantly contribute to creating a more active, engaged and healthy community.”
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The proposed facility would complement other regional sporting infrastructure in the city, including the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, at Speers Point, and the Hunter Sports Centre, at Glendale.
It would be capable of hosting more than 35 local sporting and cultural events each year.
Newcastle Basketball general manager Neil Goffet said that with basketball registrations growing, his organisation had outgrown its Broadmeadow headquarters.
“We’re in the process of seeking NSW government funding to establish a new facility,” Mr Goffet said.
“Ensuring we have a modern venue to meet the growing demands of aspiring basketballers is our top priority.”
Mr Goffet said a new regional indoor sports centre had the potential to attract an extra 2000 basketball registrations each year.
He said it could also increase opportunities for wheelchair sports participation by more than 30 per cent.
The Hillsborough site’s central location was another drawcard.
“It’s located alongside one of the Hunter’s key arterial roads, and council has so far been very supportive of bringing this facility to Lake Macquarie and the benefits it will deliver,” Mr Goffet said.
Cr Fraser said further studies and consultation with the local community would take place as part of any future development proposal.
Councillors were expected to consider the recommendation to set aside the 6.7ha parcel of land behind Hillsborough Public School at their meeting this week.
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