Council, Panthers look to Wright Park

QUEANBEYAN City Council and the Monaro Panthers are keen to press ahead with plans to convert upper Wright Park into a primary soccer use facility.

That’s despite losing out on $218,000 in promised Federal Government funding for the project as a result of September’s federal election.

The plan would see the cricket pitch currently located at Wright Park removed and a new synthetic pitch installed at the Queanbeyan Showground.

Council has earmarked the plan as one way to help overcome the current shortage of sporting facilities in Queanbeyan.

The NSW State Government has already pledged $78,000 to upgrade Wright Park through its Community Building Partnership grant program.

That funding will be used to install fending and upgrade facilities including the change rooms and canteen at the ground.

The money however, falls far short of the nearly $300,000 required to renovate the ground to the desired standard and to relocate the cricket pitch to the Showground.

“Council had identified the establishment of a cricket pitch at the showground and conversion of Wright Park Upper to soccer as a means of overcoming existing filed shortages,” a council spokesperson said.

“Council had identified works to the value of $215,000 between the showground and Wright Park, in addition to the works Monaro Panthers included in their grant submission.

“The $215,000 was allocated by the former government, unfortunately it was deemed by the current government as a Labor election promise and is not to proceed. Council is currently looking at alternate funding options.”

The Monaro Panthers have struggled for the past few years to accommodate the club’s approximately 1000 registered junior players and a host of senior teams within Queanbeyan’s existing sporting infrastructure.

Panthers vice president Michele Biscotti said the club was hoping to use Wright Park for its junior Premier League and higher level State League sides in a bid to alleviate pressure on Riverside Stadium.

And despite the current funding shortfall, Biscotti said he was still hopeful the project could be complete in time for the start of next season.

“2014 would be ideal,” he said. “But it’s just a matter of securing where the Council funds are going to come from and that may take time.” 

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