No sale, but city wants car park access

Albury Council will push to retain the car parking for Lavington Oval.
Albury Council will push to retain the car parking for Lavington Oval.

ALBURY Council will be seeking urgent assurances from the Panthers Group for continued access to car parking for major events at Lavington Oval.

The council bought the sportsground from the Panthers in 2009, but the car parking and land around the former licensed club remains in the ownership of Sydney’s Panthers Group after the sudden closure of the Lavington club on Sunday night.

The council and Lavington Football-Netball Club have submitted a bid to host next month’s Ovens and Murray grand final, which will require the use of the car parks.

Albury Council is also hoping to attract an AFL pre-season game to Lavington early next year.

Mayor Kevin Mack said yesterday the council was aware of the implications of the sudden closure of the sports club and the car parking arrangements needed to be clarified.

The O and M is expected to decide where the grand final will be played at a board meeting on Monday night.

Wangaratta has again submitted a rival bid to host the grand final.

“It is business as usual at this point,” Cr Mack said.

“I am sure Penrith Panthers will work on the same arrangement until things change.

“Everything is subject to negotiation.”

Cr Mack ruled out the council buying the club building after the idea was floated by Panthers chief Warren Wilson on Monday.

The most likely scenario is the land occupied by the building and car park will be sold to a developer, but the council is aware of the issue of sufficient car parking around one of its marquee sporting facilities.

Two years ago the council bought land at the eastern end of the oval between Centaur Road and Pearsall Street which was used for parking at the A-League soccer game earlier this year.

It is earmarked to be developed into another oval with accompanying changerooms in 2015-16.

The sports club’s demise will force Lavington Panthers to find an alternate venue for its post-match get-togethers and other functions in the short term.

But a long-term option could be fast-tracking of the grandstand redevelopment at the oval, which would include a sporting administration hub, improved changerooms and function areas.

The upgrade was delayed when the council had to direct additional funding to the city’s art gallery redevelopment when it didn’t receive a $3.5 million from the NSW government.