Correcting the record on a multipurpose sports facility

Published on 14 March 2024

Burnie Sports Centre.jpg

I wish to respond to Cr Ken Dorsey’s letter to the editor (Advocate, March 13) which contains two factual errors that I wish to correct for the record and to ensure transparency for our people of Burnie.

The first error relates to Cr Dorsey’s letter which states that a new location had been selected for a “new basketball multipurpose sports centre”. A new site had not been selected by the Committee or by the Council.

Secondly, Cr Dorsey’s statement that Council’s decision to discontinue plans for such a centre was attributable to the “chair of the committee,” is not correct. The decision not to proceed with the plans put forward by the Committee was made collectively by the Council.  This occurred after much discussion in 2021 when the Council was grappling with its financial sustainability concerns. 

The decision of the Council was that the Cultural Centre project was the primary advocacy project, with a new combined sports complex being considered thereafter.  The fact of the matter is that as councillors we would love to be able to provide everything that our community wants – but those of us that sit around the table need to balance the community needs with our ability to fund these projects now and into the future.  Something that Cr Dorsey seems to not understand – or doesn’t want to acknowledge.

As part of the Council’s recent Asset Management Strategy discussions, councillors have determined that over the next 4-year period, while the Cultural Centre is being finished, that there will be efforts made to establish a community-led advocacy body that has representation from all sporting organisations, to consider our future needs for a combined sporting precinct for the city.  The Committee established previously to which Cr Dorsey refers, was only made up of user groups of the existing Centre, and therefore did not acknowledge the full sporting environment of our city.  We believe it is imperative that everyone has the opportunity to be engaged and contribute their thoughts on what could be a game changer for our city into the future. 

This engagement model is similar to that used by sporting organisations in Devonport City, and despite taking a decade to realise their success, it is seen by many as a great example of how to bring about excellent community engagement that can leverage significant government funding.   

The strength of that process was that the Council had a vision of providing a contemporary and consolidated sports precinct, however, it was the community groups holistically that came together and considered the various needs and advocated to the different tiers of government to get behind the project.  This community-led advocacy has strongly positioned Devonport in their efforts, and the Burnie City Council is committed to fostering a collaborative approach such as this with regard to a potential consolidated sports precinct for the future.

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