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Murray Bridge Basketball Association hammers away at getting new stadium
Exclusive: Members of the MBBA have expressed frustration that a cost blow-out has prevented a $4 million stadium from being built.
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A cost blow-out has halted progress towards a new regional sports stadium in Murray Bridge for now.
Previous Murray Bridge Basketball Association president James Vowles said that although funding for the stadium at the Murray Bridge Showground had been received, the money hadn’t been put to use.
In the meantime, MBBA members and other players were making do with three courts that he said weren’t fit for purpose.
“However, the project’s gone out to tender and come in over budget … so at the moment, the project’s on hold, which means that four million in grant money is in the bank.
“The council’s been great – they’re trying to get an extension of that grant, but we don’t know what that’s going to look like.
Mr Vowles and other MBBA spokespeople Matt Mundy and Shirley Hartman voiced several concerns over the current stadium’s three courts, especially for players’ safety.
“At the moment, we’ve got kids playing late at night on courts that aren’t fit for purpose,” Mr Vowles said.
“There’s a lack of run-off – a kid got knocked into a wall – and there’s loose nails on courts, which we’re knocking down prior to games.”
MBBA strategic development officer Matt Mundy said that a volunteer carpenter also patched up gaps on the courts’ surfaces before games.
MBBA president Shirley Hartman wanted the Murray Bridge basketball facilities to be on a par with those she sees in other parts of SA.
“We go to carnivals and see all the other facilities, and we look at our little Murray Bridge, and we are big Murray Bridge, so we should have a facility fit for purpose for our community,” she said.
“We’re all volunteers, doing this for our community, and we just want to keep up with the times.
“We’re still playing on 50-year-old courts.”
Ms Hartman said that her club had produced world-class champions such as Steph Lubcke and Commonwealth Games medallist Ally Wilson.
“They’ve played on the same courts that we still have,” she said.
Another concern Ms Hartman expressed was for the privacy of players, particularly the female ones.
She pointed out the referee room’s current changing facilities: a plastic curtain in the corner of the room.
“It’s for our female refs – often they have to come off the court and get changed,” she said.
“And we have a lot of 14-year-old girls and senior women, so we need to give them privacy to get basketballs and their iPads before a game.”
Council remains committed to the project
Outgoing Murray Bridge CEO Michael Sedgman clarified the particulars of the funding and the source of the delay in building the stadium last week.
“The approved budget for the project is 3.9 million,” he said.
“We have received the grant funding from the state government, which is 1.5 million.
“There was an allocation by council of half a million, and the federal government funding of 1.9 million is an approved grant that we have not yet received.”
What would happen next?
“Council is committed to delivering a funded project, but we are continuing to work with the preferred tenderer around what we can fit in the funding envelope, and then we’ll also be continuing to liaise with both state and federal governments in terms of securing the funding that’s been approved in terms of delivering the project,” he said.
Mr Sedgman hoped there would be an update on the project fairly soon.
“We’re hoping to secure some meetings in Canberra with appropriate ministers when the mayor and the CEO attend the ALGA (Australian Local Government Association) conference in June,” he said.
“I would expect towards the end of June, we’ll have a firmed council position regarding the project.”