By Mick Roberts
16 December 2020 - The Torch
A CANTERBURY Bankstown Councillor has joined a chorus of people calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to build suburban stadiums, with a push for the upgrading of the Bulldogs' spiritual home at Belmore Sports Ground.
Cr Bilal El-Hayek's call follows a motion at the council's November meeting demanding the State Government distribute the $800 million earmarked for stadiums through a transparent and competitive grant scheme.
"Despite there being widespread expectations that the budget would outline plans for investment, it failed to detail anything," Cr El-Hayek said.
"A number of suburban grounds have been bandied around in the media, but this ad hoc approach needs to be curtailed, so we can all compete on a level playing field.
"Belmore appears to have been forgotten."
He says while it is and continues to be the long-term home of the Canterbury-Bankstown Football Club, the ground would be a centre of excellence and would cater for 12 local junior league district clubs and local communities from Clemton Park all the way out to Moorebank.
"It could also benefit many local not-for-profit and community initiatives with the Bulldogs," he said.
"This is about fairness for our community and our City."
A Bulldogs spokesperson said the club supported any discussion to improve the facility at Belmore Sports Ground for not just the Bulldogs but the wider community.
The Back to Belmore group, which has been advocating for the preservation and restoration of the ground as a top-class sporting facility as well as the development of future athletes to meet their full potential, has also supported the call.
"The historic venue should be afforded the same consideration as other suburban venues," the spokesperson said.
"It is incumbent on all stakeholders to ensure that this iconic facility has a prosperous future for the next generation of athletes and is upgraded to maximise its purpose and fulfil its potential."