WESTS Entertainment Group will spend $2 million transforming Scully Park No. 2 Oval into a sporting ground of “unmatched” quality in the north-west after receiving approval to proceed with plans for a $12 million motel development.
Tamworth councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday night in support of the club’s contentious proposal to build a motel, function centre and car park on the hallowed grass of the city’s famed Scully Park No. 1 Oval.
The decision brought to an end a tumultuous period for the club as it faced months of fierce opposition from a vocal group of members, rugby league stalwarts and concerned residents over its desire to diversify into the accommodation business.
The club has lodged a $1.2 million development application with council seeking permission to install new lights and a 700-seat covered grandstand, with an additional $800,000 to be spent on improving the playing surface and other amenities.
Discussions are also underway on establishing an interactive hall of fame at the new venue to celebrate Tamworth rugby league’s rich history dating back to before the Second World War.
Wests chief executive officer Rod Laing said it was an exciting time for members as the club sought to ensure its financial viability through the motel and continued its expanded commitment to local sport.
He said the remodelling of Scully Park No. 2 Oval into the Scully Park Sporting Precinct was expected to start within two months and work on constructing the motel would begin after the completion of the current football season.
“The upgrade will include a 700-seat grandstand, smaller grandstands to be located at each end of the ground, new lights and a new playing surface,” he said.
“This playing surface will be unmatched in the north-west and, in fact, it will be a stadium-quality surface. The playing surface alone is some $400,000.
“The ground itself will be unique to Tamworth because it will have a grandstand with cover, it will have corporate areas, it will have dressing sheds and it will have bar and canteen facilities.”
Scully Park No. 2 Oval’s recently installed LED lights will be transplanted to a new community sporting field – at a yet-to-be determined undeveloped council-owned site – to ensure community teams can train at night.
Mr Laing said the idea of creating a hall of fame had been percolating for some time and would likely be located in the entrance way towards the motel.
“What I’d like to see with the hall of fame is an area that discusses and promotes the history of league in Tamworth ... with photos and memorabilia, which obviously Norths, West Lions and West Robins and any other football club that was around in that era,” he said.
“I’m looking at contacting some individuals to record their comments and their memories of playing league for the various clubs and what it was like back in those days.
“Some of these people have been around for a long time and probably won’t be around for a long time because of their age, but out of respect I think their families would love to see that.”