IF Bridget McKenzie achieves nothing else in her much-maligned political career, she has at least reminded Sporting Declaration to write another column about Newcastle's sporting facilities.
Or perhaps that should be, the lack of sporting facilities.
OK, so as not to sound completely ungrateful, it should be stated for the record that not every city is lucky enough to stage an annual extravaganza known as the V8 Supercars, which regrettably will lose its No.1 drawcard, the Holden Commodore, in the not-too-distant future.
Newcastle has also just hosted the NSW Waratahs, will soon welcome both the Matildas and Wallabies, and is one of the leading candidates for next season's NRL Nines tournament.
But this cavalcade of high-profile events reminds me of a conversation I had with a former Newcastle Herald civic reporter many years ago.
She wandered over to my desk to ask for my thoughts about a proposal from a then Newcastle City councillor, who was suggesting No.1 Sportsground should be converted into a botanical garden and parkland.
"But where would they play cricket and Australian rules?" I asked.
"Can't they just use the stadium where the Knights play?" she replied, apparently oblivious to the fact that the facility now known as McDonald Jones Stadium was rectangular, which is fine for the rugby codes and soccer, but not so useful for cricket and AFL.
More than two decades down the track, that fundamental dilemma remains unresolved.
Newcastle has a half-decent footy stadium ... and bugger-all else.
No.1 Sportsground is currently in the process of modifications that will expand the playing field, improve drainage and irrigation, replace turf and upgrade floodlights.
But even once that makeover is complete, there is still no guarantee it will meet the requirements for elite-level cricket, such as the Big Bash League.
"For us to bring cricket here the facilities need to be able to accommodate it," Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said last year. "Newcastle being the seventh-biggest city in the country, Big Bash cricket should be coming here. We share that aspiration with council and the people of Newcastle."
This season, Sydney Sixers took a BBL game to Coffs Harbour and attracted a healthy crowd of 9834, which is likely to ensure a return visit. Meanwhile Lavington Sportsground in Albury is undergoing a $20 million redevelopment and would appear next cab off the rank in terms of regional venues. Canberra, Geelong, Alice Springs, Launceston and the Gold Coast have already accommodated BBL games, but it remains anyone's guess when Newcastle will be in a position to do likewise.
Part of the problem is the confusion surrounding the mystical Broadmeadow sporting precinct.
Initially announced almost three years ago by the Berejiklian government, it appears no closer to becoming a reality.
But my understanding is that at least one of the proposals for the 63-hectare site includes a stadium that would cater for both AFL and cricket, in which case there may be no need to invest millions at No.1 Sportsground.
Unfortunately there has been a lot of talk about the sporting precinct but, like the Loch Ness Monster, there is little concrete evidence of its actual existence.
At this point in time, the only announced development at Broadmeadow has been the Knights' Centre of Excellence, construction of which has been delayed after a dispute, now settled, with the nearby Westpac Rescue Helicopter base.
Other than that, the remaining land at Broadmeadow apparently remains a blank canvas, but if the premier and her advisers are still agonising how to piece the puzzle together, perhaps I can offer some advice.
A long-overdue decision about a cricket/AFL stadium would be a good starting point, and then the booming sport of basketball deserves to be next in the queue.
Newcastle Basketball is set to relocate from its embarrassingly dilapidated headquarters at Broadmeadow to a multi-million dollar, 10-court complex at Hillsborough.
But if Newcastle is to ever again field a team in the National Basketball League, a new entertainment centre/indoor arena at Broadmeadow would appear a priority.
Preferably one with a roof that doesn't leak when it rains.
Such a venue would also, of course, be suitable for a future Super Netball side.
Next on the wish list is surely a decent aquatic centre. One that caters not only for swimming, but also water polo and diving, so that our future Olympians aren't forced to brave the elements by training outdoors at Lambton Pool.
Anyone who has driven past the eyesore out the front of District Park recently would appreciate that the city's No.1 tennis centre needs a major renovation.
Likewise, we could do with a few more squash courts, given that there are only a dozen or so in the entire city, and maybe even an indoor velodrome, if that's not too much to ask.
Alternatively, perhaps it would be cheaper to convert the proposed sporting precinct into a botanical garden and parkland, freeing up funds to spend in marginal seats?
Just an idea ...