Big plans for Ward Oval after windfall

The Ward Oval sporting precinct is about to get $4million-plus makeover thanks to a government grant windfall for Cobar Shire Council.

A presentation outlining the proposed upgrade for the sporting facility was made to councillors at a workshop last Thursday prior to the Ordinary Council Meeting.

Sporting and community groups who use Ward Oval will be briefed on the proposed plans at Council’s Ward Oval Users Group meeting tomorrow afternoon.

Funding for the project came about after a NSW Government Growing Local Economies Fund grant that had earlier been promised to council to build a new industrial estate was re-directed to Ward Oval.

Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko told last week’s meeting the design and planning for the industrial estate was more than what was initially expected and so the government had requested that Public Works re-design and re-cost the new industrial estate project.

Mr Vlatko said the government then asked for the already committed grant to be allocated to another council ‘shovel-ready project’.

He said the industrial land project would also be funded under the next round of Growing Local Economies funding.

Mr Vlatko told councillors $4.2million would be spent at Ward Oval on a new pavilion and $150,000 maximum would committed to the design and plan for the industrial estate.

While the majority of the councillors were pleased to be able to spend the windfall on Ward Oval, Cr Peter Yench however wasn’t happy and suggested the money could be better spent on the Cobar Memorial Swimming Pool.

“It’s costing the ratepayers a lot of money, if we could make a saving there,” Cr Yench said.

He said he was also concerned that the decision to contribute around $700,000 of council’s funds to Ward Oval had not come to a council  vote and he questioned the mayor and general manager’s authority to make the decision.

Mayor Lilliane Brady said a redevelopment project for Ward Oval “has been on the agenda for about 10 years”.

Cr Jarrod Marsden pointed out that initially when council applied for the funding they were requested to list three projects and that Ward Oval had been their second priority.

“We workshopped this today.

“We would be foolish not to go ahead with $4.1million for something that the town needs,” Cr Maxwell added.