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Funding hole puts precinct at risk: Sports Ground project still waiting for state money

By Chris Georgakopoulos

27 May 2014 - Canterbury-Bankstown Express

THE Sydney Multicultural Arts and Sports Precinct in Belmore may be "in jeopardy" because the State Government is yet to commit funding to the project.

Canterbury Council has pledged $1.5 million for the project, with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Sydney Olympic - who both use the facility - together allocating another $1 million.

Last year, The Express successfully campaigned for the Belmore Sports Ground project to receive more than $4 million of federal funding.

The council and the clubs have been lobbying since the start of the year for the remaining $3.5 million to complete the $10 million project, but have been unable to receive confirmation due to changes in the NSW Cabinet.

Although the council is ready to sign the contract to go ahead with the development, NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres told the Express he could not yet confirm the funding.

"As discussed in previous meetings with NSW Sport and Recreation, an official detailed proposal needs to be prepared and submitted for consideration," he said.

"We will make contact with the Bulldogs to set up a meeting to discuss further."

The council confirmed the Federal Government contract for the project will be signed by June 23.

An initial condition of the contract stated the funding had to be confirmed by June, but the groups were given a six-month extension to put together a business proposal for the new sports minister.

They now have until December to secure State Government funding.

The council's general manager Jim Montague said the state funding was "essential" for the project to go ahead.

"If the funding cannot be secured by the milestone, the project will be in jeopardy," he said.

The precinct will include two new grandstands, performance and visual arts spaces, and a 2km walkway linking the facility to railway stations.


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