State says no to Urana oval project

AN immediate start to a big upgrade of the Urana Road Oval complex in Lavington has hit a hurdle with a failed grant application to the NSW government.

As oval tenants, Murray Magpies Football-Netball Club and New City Cricket Club, were banking on a $527,000 state grant being successful to fast-track the changerooms, social area and canteen development, after the council approved the work last month.

The clubs had originally hoped the council could bring forward $300,000 from the funding commitment to make a start but without the state grant, it is a potential deal-breaker.

User groups spokesman Anthony Baker said they were told last week the grant application had been unsuccessful.

He hoped the council could still agree to an original request to bring forward funding.

He had already sounded out Cr Darren Cameron.

“The grant would have certainly made work pretty much start straight away,” Mr Baker said.

“We just need to petition the council to re-arrange their funding.

“We are certainly going to ask the question.

“It starts in 12 months or 24 months, but the project will still happen.”

The council approved $75,000 for initial planning works in the 2014-15 budget as part of a $150,000 loan with the second instalment to kick in during 2015-16.

It has also committed $600,000 to the project and agreed to look at the timelines if the grant was approved.

Cr Cameron said yesterday he supported a start sooner rather than later.

He has promised user groups he’ll discuss the funding rollout with other councillors and senior staff.

“Having a large amount of money available in the first year will enable the clubs to better leverage grants from peak sporting bodies,” Cr Cameron said.

“The $75,000 allocated this financial year won’t allow them to break ground.

“Over the four year term of the current budget there will not be one extra cent allocated.

“It is simply a matter of changing the order the money has been allocated.”

The two clubs have agreed to provide more than $350,000 of in-kind support and materials when the project goes ahead, and to lobby the AFL and Cricket Australia for more funding.