IPSWICH Council has been called to task on a “lack of vision” in not immediately backing the Federal Government’s $20m improvement grant for the North Ipswich Reserve.
Federal MP for Blair, Shayne Neumann, who lobbied tirelessly to get the funds, delivered a tirade at council for what he called was “idleness, inertia and ignorance” towards the need for the upgrade of the old sporting facility.
“I can’t believe they have the gall to say the State Government needs to chip in $10m first before they put their money into the project,” he said.
‘It may be years before the State gives us money and $10m now from the council will be worth much more than that in years to come.
“With their money and the federal grant we’d have $30m and the first stage involving changerooms, new sheds, lighting, the reconfiguration of the field and a high performance centre would be ready to go.
“I am sick to death of the council not having enough vision, Ipswich needs a quality entertainment venue where people can also play football, rugby league and rugby union at an elite level.
“There is no justification for the delay by the Ipswich City Council especially as they are spending $48m on building a cinema when there is a cinema across the river and $11m plus on a pub to be in competition to Brothers, CSI and Jets.”
Mayor Teresa Harding has spoken of the importance of the redevelopment of North Ipswich Reserve, but admitted nothing is in the current budget for the project.
“Once the State Govt kicks the tin we will put our money in,” she said. State Member for Ipswich, Jennifer Howard, gave a cautious answer to the Reserve project saying before a state grant could be given there needed to be a number of steps undertaken by council.
“These include supplying a full business case detailing cost, proposed funding partnerships and potential precinct tenants and user groups” she said.
When pressed as to whether she supported an upgrade she said she would continue to fight for the needs of our local sporting clubs, including league.