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Basketball association, federal MP perplexed by stadium’s scrapping
Murray Bridge Basketball Association representatives have written to the Murray Bridge council, expressing frustration about its decision to shelve a new stadium.
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Murray Bridge Basketball Association officials have described a local council decision not to proceed with a new indoor stadium as “disappointing” and “perplexing”.
MBBA president Shirley Hartman and strategic development officers James Vowles and Matthew Mundy sent a joint letter to the Murray Bridge council in response to its decision to cancel plans for the long-awaited facility.
Although the council had secured $1.9 million in federal funding and $1.5 million in state funding for the new stadium, the cost of the project had proven greater than the allocated budget.
“It’s extremely disappointing and, to be quite honest, perplexing to hear that, despite all efforts, no scope changes or extensions of time can be provided to deliver the project as per (Building Better Regions Fund) funding requirements,” wrote the MBBA representatives.
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They also pointed out that other regional towns had new sporting facilities, where Murray Bridge had missed out.
“Loxton, Berri, Port Augusta, Kadina, and Mount Gambier have benefited from new purpose-built facilities, while we continue to operate in a 50-year-old repurposed shed that does not meet the required playing standards or safety standards,” they said.
The MBBA representatives said that around $500,000 of ratepayer and taxpayer money has been invested to bring the project to a shovel-ready stage, but that the $1.9 million BBRF grant was due to expire in December.
“It was … clearly stated that council did not want to de-scope the project; however, we would like further clarification on why this was not the case and why it was not pursued further,” they said.
The MBBA asked the council to state its vision for the community sports stadium, along with the steps that it would take to address the issues outlined in the letter.
MP is also disappointed about stadium decision
Federal MP Tony Pasin also expressed his disappointment about the loss of $1.9 million that had been slated for the new basketball stadium in Murray Bridge.
“Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Murraylands,” he said.
“The sssociation has over 500 playing members; this number is expected to grow with the region, but the current stadium doesn’t comply with Basketball SA standards for hosting high-level events, and it doesn’t have appropriate facilities to encourage female participation.”
Mr Pasin said a recent feasibility study had shown that a new basketball stadium could attract an extra 660 visitors to Murray Bridge each month, and inject $1.4 million into the local economy.
“This is a huge blow to the basketball association, both current members and future generations,” Mr Pasin said.
The MBBA’s current facilities service around 600 members, but pressing issues have impacted the association’s operations, financial stability and the safety of its members.
These include unsafe playing conditions, a lack of air conditioning, poor car-parking facilities, dangerous court conditions, inadequate changing facilities, water damage and lost opportunities to hire out the facilities to schools and community organisations.
Murray Bridge News has previously drawn attention to these issues of concern, including the state of court two, which requires loose nails to be hammered down pre-game.