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Ferodale Sports Complex takes first step

Chris Doohan has been pushing for an upgraded sports complex in Medowie.A PLANNED new sports complex in Medowie won’t include a liquor licence or gaming machines, but that won’t stop whoever runs it applying for it later.

Last week the Newcastle Herald reported the council would vote on a motion to support the lodging of a development application for a $3.8 million sports complex on Ferodale Road in Medowie.

The proposed development would include a community hall, bowling greens and a car park, and the proposal was approved on Tuesday.

The development has been the hobby horse of councillor Chris Doohan since he was elected in 2012, but has faced opposition from fellow central ward councillor Geoff Dingle over concerns it was being designed as a licensed premises.

Cr Dingle said past designs had shown a bar, and questioned why the current design included walk-in freezers and a cool room.

The motion specifically clarifiedthe development application would not include a “licensed club or gaming facilities”.

The complex would be managed by an incorporated entitiy, and on Tuesday he asked the council’s facilities and services manager Jason Linnane how they would stop future managers applying for the licence.

Mr Linnane said the council would still be the owner of the site and would have discretion over what was allowed there.

Cr Doohan was not at the meeting on Tuesday, but his colleagues Steve Tucker and Ken Jordansaid while they were opposed to gaming machines on the site, they would support limited liquor licences similar to those used by local sporting clubs.

“That’s how those sorts of clubs make money,” Cr Jordan said.

“I wouldsupport a licence to drink alcohol,to the wowsers of Medowie and Port Stephenstheres an election in 12 months you an all get together and vote againstme,” Cr Tucker said.

“If you don’t like this club I don’t want your vote.”

But the decision came in for criticism from Port Stephens state MP Kate Washington, who said council should be spending the money elsewhere.

“This facility has been talked about for a long time by a select few,” she said,

“There is an enormous need for investment in facilities across Port Stephens, but Council is putting significant funding into this one project.”

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