FOR far too long Wagga has been a second-class citizen when it comes to having a first-class facility for Australian rules football.
After almost a decade of procrastination, Wagga City Council is to be commended for at last biting the bullet and getting on with the job – and the region will soon be reaping the rewards of that vision.
With the turf being rolled out this week on the expanded oval, it won’t be too long before the sporting public will enjoy the benefits of the $7 million project.
The debate over the location of a so-called premier sporting venue and the great divide between the different codes – all vying for valuable council dollars – has meant the elected representatives were reticent to spend any large amount of money on a sadly neglected Robertson Oval.
The fact of the matter is, having a facility capable of hosting AFL matches is vital to the city.
For too many years pre-season games have been lured to centres such as Narrandera and Lavington – all of which have been opportunities lost for our great city.
At last, that is about to change.
Although a controversial decision, the council also had the foresight to build a relationship with new AFL franchise Greater Western Sydney (GWS).
Some have argued that the annual cost of $100,000 for the three-year deal is excessive, but when put into context it is a relatively small price to pay to bring a whole range of benefits – and economic boost – to the region.
Trial games, football carnivals and the association with the GWS development squad are all very real, tangible benefits for the region.
As with most projects of such significance, there is plenty of public debate – as there should be.
But the completion of the project means the footballing public – whether Aussie rules, rugby league or rugby union, will now have access to three fantastic venues capable of hosting the sports at the most elite level.
Don’t underestimate the value of bringing these games to our region to inspire the next generation of athletes who dream of playing at the highest level.
ROLLING FORWARD: Wagga mayor Rod Kendall, councillor Kerry Pascoe and parks and recreation strategic planner Jarrod Bryant inspect the newly-laid turf at Robertson Oval by Luke Shimpf. Picture: Michael Frogley
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.