ASNA President, John Gaynor has written to each Mayoral and Council candidate to seek their position on four major issues that are facing Alice Springs Netball Association over the next Council Term. Issues raised are below:
- Re-surfacing of four outdoor netball courts at Pat Gallagher Netball Centre: The Pat Gallagher Netball Centre outdoor courts are in urgent need of resurfacing. This is a matter of safety for the Alice Springs Netball Community. This resurfacing is currently under consideration by the Alice Springs Sports Advisory Committee. ASNA has received a Major Community Benefit Fund Grant from the Northern Territory Government to the value of $250,000 and has committed $50,000 of its own funds to contribute towards the resurfacing procedure. We are seeking the Council’s support to meet the remaining costs.
- Shade and weather structures: The ASNA Board is conscious of the impact that climate change will have on our sport, for both participants and spectators. . The Council has offered some used, surplus shade structures for installation around the outdoor courts. They have not yet been installed and will likely be delayed until the outside courts are resurfaced. While these structures will offer more shade, they are open to wind and rain elements. We are seeking additional financial support of approximately $30,000 to meet the cost of cladding the rear of each of the structures with stretch vinyl to provide an adequate wind break.
- Further Development of Pat Gallagher Netball Precinct to attract High level Sporting Competitions: The resurfacing of the outdoor courts combined with state-of-the-art stadium means that Pat Gallagher Netball Centre could become a first-class sporting facility. With the support of the Alice Springs Town Council and the NT Government, It is ASNA’s intention to position itself to attract high level sporting competitions including State Championships, National Championships and Suncorp Super Netball Games within the next 5 years. It is the strong conviction of the ASNA Board that netball, as the largest female participation sport not only in Alice Springs, but across the Territory and Australia, should be considered as a priority for high level games to be brought to Alice Springs as other sports such as cricket and football have been positioned. To develop a first-class sporting facility planning for a significant upgrade of change rooms, offices and canteen facilities is required.
- Provision of sufficient Car Parking: Alice Springs Netball has 800+ registered participants with only 36 car parks at Pat Gallagher Netball Centre. Car parking has been a perennial problem for this part of the Ross Park precinct. Insufficient parking on both training and game days leads to parking congestion and subsequent interference with surrounding local businesses as well as forcing our members to park in areas which are poorly lit and unsafe when finishing training or games late at night. In consultation with surrounding businesses, ASNA believes that it has a solution that would benefit the Ross Park sporting precinct, the small businesses, the club and the church in the immediate area.
Firstly I want to congratulate and thank you all on the fantastic work you do to ensure that netball is one of the highest participating sports in Alice Springs. If elected Mayor, I aim to develop a strong relationship with ASNA to ensure the sport continues to grow and to improve the facilities to enable it.
In regards to the resurfacing, I commit to working with ASNA to ensure the resurfacing of the outdoor courts is completed to a high standard within the first half of 2022. ASNA has done well to secure $250 000 from the NT Community Benefit Fund and to contribute $50 000 of its own funds. I commit to working to secure the remaining funds required through SFAC and Council to prioritise the resurfacing to occur in the second half of this financial year. As discussed, the resurfacing will also create an opportunity to upgrade the lighting to LEDs to support better energy efficiency.
Secondly, the shade structures that have been offered by Council should include shade at the back to reduce the impact of prevailing winds and to enable better shade of the seated areas. As I suggested in person, I will work to support the installation of stretch vinyl which should also have Velcro strips sewn into them to allow sponsors to add their logos as required. The longevity of these shades will depend on how long they are left on the structures, I’d suggest they are clipped on when playing and taken down when not to extend their life.
I support the further development of the Netball Precinct to support state and national level games to be played here in Alice Springs. This includes the development of player change rooms as a priority, but also includes working with ASNA and the NT Government to work on the broader precinct development. As part of this, I am keen to see Council finally take ownership of the stadium and look at opportunities to install solar on the roof and improve building efficiency. I am also keen for Council to explore opportunities with ASNA as to how to make better use of the facility for broader community purpose, noting the facility is within the 1:100 flood zone.
If elected Mayor, I commit to working with ASNA, the Desert Life Church, IGA, Club Eastside and other local businesses to develop a safe and sustainable parking solution that reduces the risk to participants and reduces the congestion that has consistently been an issue.
Thank you for getting in touch with me and I look forward to the opportunity to work with ASNA and other key stakeholders to continue to support the growth of netball in Alice Springs.
Re-surfacing of four outdoor netball courts at Pat Gallagher Netball Centre:
I have committed to working with the Northern Territory Government to give our residents safe and functional facilities, beginning with the outdoor netball courts at the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre.
Netball is the highest participation sport in our town and you only have to walk past on a Saturday morning to see hundreds of young girls giving their all on the court.
I am aware that unfortunately the outdoor courts and in desperate need of resurfacing. The 800-pus weekly participants deserve a safe surface on which to compete and unfortunately at the moment that is not the case. This will be a priority of mine if elected Mayor and I will liaise with government to ensure a complete resurface is done to the highest possible level by the beginning of the 2023 Alice Springs Netball Association season.
Further Development of Pat Gallagher Netball Precinct to attract High Level Sporting Competitions:
Sport is a major part of our way of life in Alice Springs, and we’ve always punched well above our weight on the sporting field.
To assist our athletes to compete at a high level, and support all our budding sportspeople, it’s vital we continue to maintain and upgrade our facilities where practicable.
The project to upgrade the Netball Courts is already a shovel ready project and I will make sure that this continues and this upgrade remains a priority for the Council.
I have committed to supporting national sporting events coming to our community. Alice Springs has attracted high level sporting events across different codes in recent years and it is time that our community pays the same attention to netball. Not only would our tourism sector and economy benefit substantially from high level netball fixtures in Alice Springs, but our young aspiring netballers would get the opportunity to see their idols live in their backyard. You cannot put a price on that.
Provision of sufficient Car Parking:
Yes, I too understand the frustrations around the car parking at the netball courts. A state-of-the-art facility can only operate to its fullest potential if the amenities are up to scratch and car parking plays a large role in that. While I may not have the answers, I see it as a high priority to address and would be open to collaboration with ASNA, surrounding businesses and NTG to find a suitable solution.
I have been checking the Council finances and there seems to be more than enough to explore the financial contributions you seek, but the letter is unclear as to how much is needed to complete the resurfacing. Also unclear as to the upgrade proposal and the parking solution. So I will call Gaynor and get some clarification.
The Council Annual report 19/20 seems to only commit $41k to netball but has $42 million in reserves. I think some reserves make sense but not to hold so much money that was collected from ratepayers to provide services. Government should not be run like business with the intention of making a profit. As such, I would be in favour of using some of the reserve to improve the quality of life of the community.
--- If elected I would be happy to commit to all 4 of these initiatives. I think there is an equity issue that can be addressed though this support.
Firstly, thank you for reaching out to me and also for your patience.
I would be happy to catch up for a coffee over the next 2 weeks to get a more detailed understanding of the organisation's needs.
As a father to a 13 year old netballer, I see the value this brings to the local community but can also as a businessman see the value of upgrading the facility brings to the wider community with professional sporting competitions.
Thank you I have received it.
I will support any proposal for ASTC to contribute toward netball’s needs here, should I be elected.
My motto is: Independent Ethical Thinking for the benefit of our town.
I will not be a welded on member of a predictable group.
Netball is obviously such an important part of our community.
My daughters and granddaughters have and are currently benefiting from netball.
Count me in.
I'd appreciate votes from the netball community.
Thank you for the correspondence from the Chair.
Much of the points raised have already been discussed with the 13th Council and preliminary works in some instances has already started. I look forward to having the opportunity to work forward with the Alice Springs Netball Association moving forward.
To Alice Springs Netball AssociationTo Alice Springs Netball Association
Thank you for your enquiries re my position on ASNA agenda for future maintenance and development. I’ve read your letter with interest as I am already very much aware of Netballs status as our communities largest Sport in participating numbers.
I am happy to support your applications to the SFAC, if elected of course. I am very much aware of the issues round the Netball Courts and parking, as I was an active participant on the joint Design and Construction Team that oversaw your new indoor courts. I strongly supported Netball’s funding application to Councils for that project and will continue that support into the future.
Being an active Sports participant myself, along with a large family connection across many of the Sports in the Alice, including Netball, I am a strong believer in the important role Sports play in our Community. I am a strong advocate for Sports Development recognizing the important economic role Sports, can and do, play in events-based tourism.
As a previous Desert Sports Committee Member, I am aware of issues around travel to and from and the importance of attracting high level games too, our local facilities. I understand the requirements around having first class facilities that meet the necessary standards for that to happen.
If I succeed in being elected Mayor I will continue and strengthen Council’s role in producing first class sporting grounds for all our Sporting Associations.
Good afternoon John, and ASNA Board.
Thanks for reaching out and providing me with an opportunity to provide my input to your Association.
I have been a keen supporter of ASNA through the Sports Facility Advisory Committee as well as a spectator for many years.
Congratulations on securing your Community Benefit Fund as well as being in a position to be able commit your own funds towards the betterment of the projects, specifically resurfacing of the outdoor courts.
Re-surfacing of four outdoor netball courts at Pat Gallagher Netball Centre:
I have keenly observed the correspondence between ASNA, ASTC and SFAC. I believe there is value and benefit in looking at a self-managed construction model that involved Council, but not spearheaded by Council.
There is of course the issues of ownership etc, but there are plenty of examples of self-managed construction as gifted assets. I believe the estimates currently are in the upper end of $500K short, but there are considerations such as “Fit for Purpose” and “out of Standard but satisfactory construction” that can and should be considered.
Prior to the last SFAC Meeting where funding of the resurfacing of the outdoor courts was discussed, I researched the Netball Association Australia Facilities Policy to ensure that I was able to provide accurate advice at the committee.
Through researching the Netball Association Australia Facilities Policy, I note that the construction methods nominated in the Compliance Summary are contradictory of the design dimension quoted by Council. The design dimension quoted by Council are the same dimensions that the have been quoted as adding approx $246K to the cost of the project, putting the project at risk of underfunding and not progressing.
When faced with the same concerns in 2007, the Drag Racing Assoc undertook the model I mentioned above, “Self-managed construction as a gifted asset” engaging Campbell Project Managers to design and the Company I was managing at the time, Gilbert Earthmoving deliver the new ASID Drag Strip in its current location. There are options available to your association that warrant investigating.
Shade and weather structures:
Having attending numerous games over the years at the outdoor courts, I agree that shade for both participants and spectators alike is a high priority.
Over the long term, shade sails should be considered although they are expensive, they will provide the best outcome for shade at least.
Whether I am elected to the position of Mayor or council, I will happily work with ASNA to secure the required $30,000 either through Council or SFAC as a priority.
Further Development of Pat Gallagher Netball Precinct to attract High level Sporting Competitions:
The Pat Gallagher Netball Courts are the jewel in the crown of sports facilities in Alice Springs as evidenced by your participating numbers as well as attendance of spectators.
I wholly support ASNA attracting Territory and State Championships as well as top tier games. There needs to be a greater focus from all levels of Government on the benefits Netball brings to Alice Springs
Provision of sufficient Car Parking:
I agree that insufficient parking has become a major issue for your site. Not only for local businesses, players and spectators, but also for the general public travelling within the immediate area.
I would like to hear your solution and work with you on an outcome that benefits everyone. I can see a few options for this issue as well and I think that in working in partnership, we can mitigate some of the risks as well as deliver an agreeable outcome to all stakeholders for parking at Ross Park.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond and for providing me a snapshot of the challenges facing your Association.
I look forward to working with you on these and other challenges in the years to come.
RESPONSES FROM COUNCIL CANDIDATES
Thank you for your letter.
I am a proud member of Sundowners Netball Club, currently playing in the B1 competition. I returned to netball this year after a 7 year break and am loving being back on the court.
Thank you for drawing my attention to the relevant concerns of ASNA. Please be assured that if on Council, I will consider all your proposals carefully and advocate for ASNA to be recognised as the incredible contributor to sport and recreation that it is. At this stage, I do not have enough information about Council budgets and grant processes to be able to comment specifically on the issues you raise - but I will be happy to advocate for ASNA's position if elected.
I am a strong supporter of netball in Alice Springs and across the Northern Territory. My two daughters have played netball in this town having come through the juniors with one of them going on to be a current training partner with the Vixens. ASNA provided her with the foundations and confidence to try out in SSN and we are thankful for the opportunities provided to both my daughters from netball. I have also served on the Netball Northern Territory Board for a number of years until recently.
Sport and sporting facilities are extremely important in Alice Springs and if elected I will do all that I can to support better sporting infrastructure including for netball. Whilst the indoor stadium is an excellent facility, I agree that the resurfacing of the outdoor courts is a priority and I would support and encourage the sports facility advisory committee to provide funding towards this important project. Equally with the shade and weather structures – these are also important especially at either end of the season when it can be very hot.
I would also wholeheartedly support attracting major netball competitions and event(s) to Alice Springs which is not only great for netball but also for the town in supporting economic development. We should strive to have the best regional facilities to attract first class competitions and link this into our great tourism products as part of the promotion. Car parking would need to be addressed if we were to achieve this and therefore requires some careful consideration about how to achieve this and I would undertake to continue these discussions with ASNA and other key stakeholders on these options if elected.
In summary, I am a big supporter of netball. Whilst the council has a relatively small budget which needs to cater for all types of sporting activities, I do believe this is one of the highest priorities. If elected, I will commit to working with ASNA on their vision to see what council can either fund or support ASNA to source funding from elsewhere including the NT and Federal governments.