Council’s $6.4m master plan to upgrade the George Park precinct

NEW change rooms, upgraded lighting and a sealed car park are among the key features of a proposed $6.4 million facelift for the George Park precinct.

The plan proposes a five-stage upgrade of the heavily-used precinct that hosts Australian rules matches over winter and cricket during the summer.

The master plan follows council consultation with sporting groups in 2016 to address future needs and determine priorities.

In 2017 council prepared its draft master plan for the George Park precinct and sought feedback from key user groups including the Bathurst Bushrangers, Bathurst Giants and Central West AFL, Bathurst District Cricket Association and Bathurst District Sports and Recreation Council.

The AFL clubs and BDCA each lodged a submission in response, highlighting drainage and surface issues, poor quality parking, poor lighting and the need for improved amenities to cater for men and women participants as common areas of concern.

A report to Wednesday night’s monthly council meeting by engineering services director Darren Sturgiss recommends councillors endorse the master plan as the first step towards upgrading the precinct.

The said the new work would be in addition to about $1 million worth of upgrades at George Park in recent years including the new Bushrangers club rooms, a wicket upgrade and new cricket practice nets.

“However, with the continuing growth of sport within Bathurst and the high level of usage demand being placed on all sports facilities, further significant major upgrades and improvements will need to be considered within the near future at George Park in order to support the ongoing demands and future usage requirements from the various users at this facility,” the report states.

“In addition, ongoing field management issues such as compacted soils and field degradation are continuing to occur and become an issue due to ever increasing utilisation of the fields, especially in periods of inclement weather.”

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Stage 1 of the master plan includes new change rooms and toilet facilities along with a canteen and storage area to service George Park 1 (the top oval), and a sealed off-street parking area for both fields.

Stage 2 involves the restoration of the cricket wicket on George Park 1, new lighting for both fields and an upgrade of the electrical supply substation, while Stage 3 will involve the reconstruction of both ovals and the investigation of options to extend George Park 1.

The deteriorating retaining wall will be renovated as part of Stage 4 works along with the installation of a perimeter fence around the whole precinct, while Stage 5 will see spectator seating installed in front of the George Park 2 clubhouse and around George Park 1, player shelters installed at George Park 1, steel picket fencing erected around the ovals and new playground equipment put in place.

Mr Sturgiss said the master plan had been funded within current budgets with money for each stage of works to be set aside in future budgets.

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