THERE must surely be some correlation between the quality of a city’s sporting facilities and the performance of its local sporting teams.
And if that is indeed the case, then we should hardly be surprised by the success of Bathurst teams this past winter.
A quick tally by the Western Advocate found no fewer than 16 senior teams had reached the grand final in regional sporting competitions.
They included rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules and hockey teams, with both men’s and women’s teams enjoying success. But what about the quality of facilities behind those teams?
The Bathurst Bulldogs rugby union teams have been playing for some years out of the purpose-built Ann Ashwood Park on Hereford Street.
Bathurst Regional Council developed those fields and built a clubhouse to give Bulldogs a new, modern home that was a world away from the old Walmer Park.
All Bathurst’s hockey teams have the pleasure of playing each week at the Cooke Hockey Complex, one of the best in the state, while the home ground of St Pat’s rugby league is brand new this year while Bathurst Panthers’ home ground at Carrington Park has been massively upgraded in recent years.
Australian rules might seem to be the poor cousin, but not for long.
Council is currently working on a $6.4 million upgrade if the George Park precinct that will include a redevelopment of both fields with new surfaces and drainage, and new amenities at the complex.
Of course, all this spending on sports facilities does not only mean more success on the field.
Council identified long ago that sporting tourism was a potential goldmine for the region and has been investing heavily in this area ever since.
Bathurst is well located close to Sydney to attract metropolitan competitors and also centrally located to attract regional competitors.
Each time the city hosts a sporting tournament literally thousands of dollars flood into the economy - and that’s a benefit to us all.
A new $800,000 tennis clubhouse is the next big-ticket item now under construction and will be well used for local, regional, state and national titles.
It all adds up to a city of good sports, and a city of commonsense spending.