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Arty sports centre still a mere vision

By Tarik Elmerhebe

4 April 2017 - Canterbury-Bankstown Express

IT'S been four years since the Federal Government committed to the proposed Multicultural Arts and Sports Facility at Belmore, but not a single brick has been laid.

The arts aspect of the site would feature a 2km "arts walk" linking the site at Belmore Sports Ground to the Belmore town centre. It would also feature a visual arts space with a 640-seat grandstand and multipurpose arts space with a 900-seat grandstand.

For sport, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Club hopes to improve the Belmore Sports Facility by building a 25m pool, a multipurpose room, change rooms, gym, theatre and lecture room and upgrading the field to artificial turf.

At last week's meeting, Canterbury-Bankstown Council agreed to commence a masterplan.

In 2013, the Federal Government pledged $4 million towards the project while the Bulldogs Club and Sydney Olympic FC have committed $1.5 million but, although the merged council supports the project in principal no budget allocation has been made.

Assuming the merged council went on to later honour the $1.5 million commitment, the funding would still be $5.6 million short of the $13.1 million needed to bring it to fruition.

The State Government is yet to commit any money towards the project. A NSW Government Office of Sport spokesman confirmed a funding announcement was not on the horizon.

"The Office of Sport does not have funding available to support the project at this time," he said. "Any consideration of funding ... would require a detailed business case."

A spokesman for advocacy group Back to Belmore urged the State Government to pledge funding.

"It's deeply disappointing that the initial funding announcement was made almost four years ago by the then Gillard Labor Government and not a single sod has been turned on this pivotal project," he said.

"The facility will benefit the Canterbury-Bankstown area immensely by providing a much-needed outlet for our culturally diverse community to empower people to have fun and get active."

A Bulldogs spokesman said the club could not comment on the proposal at this time.

 




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