FOLLOWING extensive consultation with stakeholder groups and a public exhibition process, Richmond Valley Council last night approved a master plan for Casino’s premiere sporting complex, Queen Elizabeth Park.
The master plan lays the groundwork for the redevelopment of QE Park into a regional sporting hub capable of hosting regional and state-level events, with significant upgrades to parking and access, as well as rugby league, cricket, athletics and greyhound racing facilities.
In what is a major expansion for local rugby league, the master plan features the relocation of the senior competition to Oval 5, with Ovals 4 and 5 to become a dedicated rugby league precinct for both senior and junior players, and include a new clubhouse and grandstand complex with male and female facilities.
Sure to delight cricket lovers, a new clubhouse is also planned for the nearby cricket precinct, between Ovals 2 and 7. Like rugby league, the upgrade of these facilities will open the gates for the staging of regional competition and carnivals, while promoting local participation at a high standard.
Servicing these precincts and other user groups is a major planned parking upgrade, with a centrally located, 245-space sealed carpark.
The greyhound racing precinct is also slated for onsite parking upgrades, as well as the development of an environmentally efficient water re-use system for track watering and irrigation.
Another important element is a planned upgrade of the athletics precinct with the construction of a permanent throwing cage, long jump run and pits, and javelin launching area.
Richmond Valley Council General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the master plan set out Council’s long-term vision to develop the popular complex.
“This master plan is an important step in the ongoing development of Queen Elizabeth Park into a modern central sporting hub for the Richmond Valley,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Consultation for the initial drafting of the master plan was thorough and included engagement with local sporting groups including Casino Rugby League, Casino Greyhound Racing, Casino Archery, Casino Community Garden, Parkrun, Casino District Cricket Association, and Casino Little Athletics.
“While the bulk of the projects identified remain unfunded, Council will continue to explore and pursue grant funding opportunities which may contribute to the works described in the master plan.”
Mr Macdonald said Council continued to prioritise maintaining and improving the complex.
He said thanks to funding from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund, Council recently invested more than $479,000 into enhancements at QE Park, including installation of a sprinkler system, renovations to help improve existing changerooms and amenities, and sports field lighting improvements.
“The new master plan represents the long-term vision for upgrades to the complex, and allows for some flexibility of the final details while ensuring the overall goal to expand and improve core facilities remains consistent,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Developing the facility will not only provide a significant economic boost to the Richmond Valley through the park’s future capacity to house regional and state sporting events, but also one-off community events.”