Northern Inland Sporting Centre of Excellence build on track three months in

PROGRESS: Project manager Mark Gardiner with Graeme McKenzie on the sporting centre of excellence worksite. Photo: Peter Hardin 030118PHC024
PROGRESS: Project manager Mark Gardiner with Graeme McKenzie on the sporting centre of excellence worksite. Photo: Peter Hardin 030118PHC024

TAMWORTH will be home to a brand new velodrome, athletics track and equestrian arenas by this time in 2019.

Until then, the weight of tonnes of shifted earth and the imminent construction rests on the shoulders of council engineer Mark Gardiner.

He’s council’s project manager for the build of the Northern Inland Sporting Centre of Excellence.

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The starting gun on the build was fired in September, and while the piles of dirt between AELEC and the sports dome stack higher, the final vision is becoming clearer.

The equestrian arenas have taken shape and with some more drainage work and the sands to be laid, a soft opening is expected in March. 

At the moment, Mr Gardiner said crews were “flat out” doing detailed designs of the cycling and athletics components and it’s hoped it will go to tender in late March.

While it’s all scheduled to be completed by December 2018, Mr Gardiner said quality was key.

“We don’t want to rush it at this point, the more critical things for me are quality and financial management,” he said.

It’s the biggest project he’s led with council and in his career, so it will be an achievement to see it completed.

Council will have extraordinary meeting next week to decide contracts for the next part of the project focusing on the extension of the sports dome.

Acting manager of sports and recreation Paul Kelly said council is already investigating what potential major events it could host on the back of construction.

“Council are approaching that in a fairly strategic way where we’re working with a consultancy company to do an audit of what facilities we have across the board in an effort to identify and attract a few more,” Mr Kelly said.

“We will get some substantial events with the new athletics centre we know that as a matter of fact.”

Acting director of regional services, Graeme McKenzie said the project was one of council’s biggest in recent years.

“Our water directorate, they have large projects from time to time,” he said.

“For infrastructure that the community uses, this is the biggest one since the equine centre.”

The Australian government is providing $8.5 million, along with $4.45 million from council and $4.25 million from the NSW government, toward delivery of the project.

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