Earlier this week Campbelltown’s Labor mayor George Brticevic went on radio to discuss the saga of the Campbelltown Sport Centre of Excellence.
A local resident at Macarthur Heights who has a view of the site in the Western Sydney University campus rang the station to inform them that nothing seems to be happening.
Cr Brticevic cited re-designs and drainage issues for the delay and said the centre would be built by 2024 – the third or fourth target completion date since the project was mooted by former mayor and Liberal MP Russell Matheson.
As the radio host said to Cr Brticevic, you’ve had more than five years.
On top of all the delays have been substantial cost blowouts: what started out as a $15 million project with Campbelltown ratepayers contributing a third of that is now closer to $30 million.
Ratepayers will be footing $15 million – at this stage.
Also, very little of what’s been going on with the Centre of Sport Excellence has been made public.
That’s because Labor has had a majority on council as well as the mayor for the past five years, so any questions asked have been batted away.
Liberal leader on council George Greiss is hopeful that the election will change the make up of the council so questions on things like the sport centre of excellence can be answered.
“All we know is the project is delayed, but not why it’s delayed,’’ he tells the South West Voice in Macarthur.
“We are determined to ask for an explanation after the election.
“We will be seeking a full report on what has happened so far and when it will be completed,’’ says Cr Greiss.
The Voice put some questions to Campbelltown Council on this matter, and they were:
- Why has there been very little progress on this project since 2016?
- When will serious construction work start?
- When will the centre be completed?
- Mayor said on radio this morning final designs are still to come, but there was an announcement of final designs more than 12 months ago. Are the final designs ready or not?
- Is there a major tenant when the centre is open and operating? Is it Macarthur FC as we have been led to believe until recently?
- Is the federal government grant of around $7.5m still available for this project?
- Has the council considered using this grant for work somewhere else, such as Campbelltown Stadium?
Below is the response from council:
“Plans to develop the Campbelltown Sport and Health Centre of Excellence are continuing to progress with the aim of providing the community with a state of the art facility that will service a variety of needs in the coming years,’’ the council spokesperson said.
“The facility will combine elite sports training facilities, administration, operational spaces and community spaces.
“The project site requires significant pre-construction works as it is a low-lying site between two retention basins on Bow Bowing Creek. Construction of the Centre of Excellence cannot start until these landscape works are complete.
“During this period, Council has taken the opportunity to further consider and refine the designs for the Centre of Excellence to ensure that it will deliver the best possible outcome for the community.
“The agreed completion date for the project is April 2024.
“The $25 million Campbelltown Sport and Health Centre of Excellence is a jointly-funded project between Council, the Federal Government and Western Sydney University,’’ the council spokesperson said.
Russell Matheson, who lost his seat of Macarthur in the 2016 election, is unable to comment on these matters because he works for a government agency, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
But it won’t come as a surprise to learn that people close to him tell us he is furious with the delays as well as the cost blowout.