Blue Mountains City Council has backed a proposal for a new community sports centre at Blackheath Oval.
At its November meeting, council gave support to Blackheath Sports Precinct Group's (BSPG) proposal for a new community sports centre on the old dressing shed site at Blackheath Oval.
Council had previously decided the sheds were no longer fit for purpose and should be replaced. Council will now work with the group to develop costed plans and investigate funding options for the new centre within six months.
Importantly, there is also a bushfire safety aspect to the proposed centre.
Blackheath Oval is the only official Neighbourhood Safer Place in Blackheath designated by the NSW Rural Fire Service. But the site has no facilities where people can shelter during a fire emergency. The centre will provide this shelter.
BSPG is a community group made up of all the sport and recreation groups using the oval, including:
The group was formed in December 2021 with the express purpose of upgrading oval facilities. Over the last year it has developed concept plans, with final plans to be completed once council reports back.
BSPG president Mark McGrath said the centre is "well overdue" and will provide ongoing benefits to Blackheath.
"Blackheath is an active community and one of the last towns in the Mountains without sports clubhouse facilities," he said.
"This centre will help us retain and grow sports participation in Blackheath. Research shows that community sports facilities help lower ongoing health costs via improved physical and mental health for people."
Mr McGrath said they were looking forward to working with council to get the project 'shovel-ready' so they can raise funding.
The final cost could be anywhere from two to three million dollars.
Plans provide for a two-storey clubhouse with toilets, changerooms, a kiosk and meeting room on the ground floor, with a function room and viewing deck overlooking the oval on the upper floor.
It also features an indoor training space for the frequent occasions when the weather is too cold or wet.
There are also plans for an underground rainwater tank which could be used in a fire emergency, Mr McGrath said.
Council has been asked to explore funding opportunities with the RFS over this aspect of the proposal.
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