Complex gets help from RRC

ROCKHAMPTON’S new multi-million dollar basketball complex will finally open next month after councillors agreed to underwrite a $350,000 loan for its completion.

Construction of the $4 million complex on Huish Drive, which has transformed facilities for basketball in the city, has been beset by a series of delays over the past 18 months.

But players will take to the shiny new courts in a matter of weeks, it was revealed yesterday.

Mayor Brad Carter said councillors meeting in private session had agreed to provide a guarantee to Capricorn Credit Union so that Rockhampton Basketball Inc could borrow enough to complete the puzzle.

The council’s involvement is merely to underwrite the loan, but it will still require the State Treasurer’s rubber stamp.

“This is another sign of our council doing everything in its power to support the provision of the best sporting and recreational facilities,” he said.

The project has already received $300,000 in cash from the council as well as $1 million from the Federal Government and $1.7 million from the State Government, with the club funding the remainder.

The council says it has also contributed about $100,000 in in-kind support.

Club chairman Ian Weigh said yesterday the complex was now only weeks away from completion and he expected it would be fully operational in time for the start of the new basketball season in January.

He said it had been a very lengthy process and things were not helped by an unexpected demand from the council in June for $130,000 worth of additional works to make the new buildings fire-compliant.

“We appreciate the council’s continued support for what will be a $4 million community asset,” he said.

“There’s still a lot of tidying up to do, but I’m now confident we will be ready for the season starting next month.”

Among other things the loan will allow the club to purchase and install seats in the complex.

The project has been years in the planning, and received initial council approval in August 2008. It trebled the size of the original Hegvold Stadium and will allow the city to stage state and national championships.

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