Push for sports centre ramps up

Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs hears from Jason Beavan about plans for a multi-purpose centre in Tumut.

A proposed $20 million Multi-Purpose Centre for Tumut would house four basketball courts, a hydrotherapy pool, an Aborignal Centre of Excellence and office space for mental health and other services, with the ability to be used for a variety of other sporting events and an evacuation centre during times of natural disasters.

On Monday, Liberal Party candidate for Eden-Monaro Fiona Kotvojs toured the current Tumut Basketball Stadium, hearing Jason Beavan’s dream for the two-storey indoor rec and events centre.

“Trying to offer the community something there that everyone can use,” said Mr Beavan. 

Mr Beavan said the centre would attract school and sports groups from across the State for various events and tournaments, benefitting the entire local economy.

“I think it’s a great idea, the concept is really good,” said Ms Kotvojs. “Community very much need places where young people can go, the community can go. 

“The more efficient you can design them, so they serve a multi-purpose role, that’s all to be commended and supported, so from my perspective, I think it’s important that we have a government who is able to generate the income and have a strong economy so we can support those activities and a range of other activities that people have told us about in this area.”

Ms Kotvojs said Snowy Valleys Council had presented her with “a long list” of projects they’d like support for.

“To be able to support those, you need a government that has a really strong economy,” she said, stopping short of pledging support directly for the MPC. 

During last week’s extraordinary meeting of the Snowy Valleys Council, councillors adopted a new advocacy plan which lists 14 priority projects, including  the Brindabella Road upgrade, Tumut Aerodrome improvements, trail upgrades and the proposed evacuation centre and Tumut basketball centre (story page 4).

SVC Deputy Mayor, and longtime Liberal Party member, John Larter, accompanied Ms Kotvojs on her tour.

“Obviously the government will look at all the council advocacy initiatives and it’s an opportunity for the government to look seriously at what the local needs are in our community and take those on board with this upcoming by-election,” he said.

“I think it’s excellent that Fiona’s come to talk to the local community and talk to the council about what’s needed; talking to people like Jason Beavan that have been proactive in this space with regard to this sort of facility and can hopefully get some funding.”

Ms Kotvojs said her approach would be to help rebuild communities following Covid-19 and following the bushfires, establishing a strong economy to support community projects such as the MPC.  

“My focus at the moment is everything to support jobs,” she said. “For Tumut, it’s going to be tough over the next period with the forestry industry and with the orchards. For me, my priority will be, ‘What will support jobs? What will support rebuilding? What will support a strong economy locally in Tumut and more broadly?’ and that gives us the base to do all of the community activities and projects that we want to do.”

Mr Beavan said the next step for the project would be a $40,000 feasibility study which would help determine a design for the MPC, potentially using the existing netball courts for parking, since he said they are uneven and dangerous for players. He said the MPC, initially slated to be located at the top of the Bull Paddock, would ideally include eight outdoor netball courts with the option to use the indoor basketball courts during rainy weather.

With the Basketball Stadium currently running games five nights a week, Mr Beavan said the local competition has truly outgrown the stadium, which was built in 1975,thanks to donations from local businesses.