TAMWORTH’S sports precinct continues to grow, with council approving multimillion-dollar plans for an outdoor dressage arena, indoor netball courts and an athletics track last night.
The facilities will be located near the Tamworth Sports Dome and the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre (AELEC), and are part of the city’s Northern Inland Centre of Excellence grand plan.
The new dressage arena at the AELEC will allow Tamworth to host Olympic-level events, while the athletics centre will be the only outdoor synthetic track between Newcastle and the Gold Coast.
Tamworth Region mayor Col Murray said the approved new facilities would ensure Tamworth’s reputation for first-class sporting events continued to rise.
The plans, which also include two new car parks with a total of 148 spaces and amenities blocks, were submitted over two development applications and are estimated to cost a combined $10.1 million.
While the plans have been given the green light, they still require funding.
General manager Paul Bennett said the idea was to get the project shovel-ready, so construction could start when the funding became available.
The state government has already committed $1 million, and council has applied to the federal government for more funding.
“If the current government is re-elected, we are very confident we will secure the funding – if a different government is elected, we will probably have to go through another (application) process,” Mr Bennett said.
Deputy mayor Russell Webb said the equine industry played an important part in the region’s economy.
“We need to spend substantial amounts of money out there to make sure we are ahead of the pack, in terms of the services we are providing to the equine industry,” Cr Webb said.
“We need to keep our facilities maintained and growing, so that we can keep that part of our economy growing.”