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Newcastle Basketball $30 million stadium for New Lambton

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New Lambton will soon be home to Newcastle Basketball, thanks to a state-of-the-art $30 million stadium.

The 12-court facility will be built on Crown Land opposite McDonald Jones Stadium, after an earlier plan to move to Lake Macquarie was foiled.

The NSW Government will fund the construction of the regional level, indoor basketball premises after committing an additional $5 million to a previous $25 million commitment for what was then intended to be a new stadium on Hillsborough Road, Charlestown.

The stadium will be built in two phases; stage one seeing the construction of up to eight courts, and stage two including a show court for 2,000 spectators.

Independent Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, who secured the additional funding commitment from the NSW Government, said the facility would be a major boost for basketball in the region.

“I’m really glad the government has agreed to this extra funding and I’m hopeful that Labor will match it,” Mr Piper said.

“It’s a shame the stadium couldn’t be built on the originally-intended site in Lake Macquarie, but this still gives us a first-class regional facility which can be accessed by everyone from Morisset to Port Stephens.

“We all know that construction costs have soared by more than 20% in recent years, so this additional money will make sure we get the regional stadium we deserve rather than a scaled-back version of the original.

“It will not only cater for our next generation of basketball stars but also major events and sports tourism, so I’m very pleased to have got the $30m required to build this fantastic regional facility.”

Newcastle Basketball president Kristi Faber said the new stadium would be one of the largest in Australia and will serve its massive catchment of Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie.

“This is a great result for Newcastle basketball. We would like to thank the state member for Lake Macquarie, Mr Greg Piper, for his ongoing support of this project,” she stated.

“The only thing preventing further growth is our existing stadium beside Broadmeadow Train Station, which is 53 years old and just too small to cater for player demand.

“Because we currently utilise six courts, with only two of these being full size, registrations for all our competitions and programs typically fill within a week.

“This means we are turning children away literally every week of the year.

“This funding allows elite and amateur basketball to remain in Newcastle, which is the geographical centre of our catchment.

“The new site on Turton Road has great public transport links, and ample accommodation and hospitality venues to support national tournaments that will now come to Newcastle.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the proposed development immediately across from Broadmeadow sports and entertainment precinct would deliver vital new sporting infrastructure for the community.

“For more than half a century Newcastle has been the physical and spiritual home of basketball in this region, with a proud tradition of developing players who have gone on to represent the sport at the highest level,” she added.

“Today Newcastle Basketball’s ability to meet the demand for the sport in the region has been constrained by the ageing stadium at Broadmeadow, which is no longer fit for purpose as local basketball booms in popularity.

“It will also provide a facility that allows Newcastle to finally have a team in the Women’s National Basketball League.

“Newcastle will have a venue capable of not only hosting a professional women’s team, but also state and national basketball tournaments, which will increase tourism and deliver positive economic benefits for local businesses.”

The Crown Land site, home to Wallarah and Blackley ovals, is owned by the NSW Government and is managed by City of Newcastle (CN).

Acting executive director creative and community services Lynn Duffy said council was preparing a precinct plan for the surrounding sportsgrounds including Arthur Edden Oval, Ford Oval, Kentish Oval and Harker Oval, to ensure ongoing and equitable access to and best utilisation of sporting facilities.

“City of Newcastle will work closely with the sporting groups and other stakeholders who currently use Wallarah and Blackley Ovals to see local training and club games continue with minimal disruption,” Ms Duffy said.

The catchment of Newcastle Basketball includes the state electorates of Lake Macquarie, Swansea, Newcastle, Charlestown, Wallsend and Port Stephens.

The new stadium was originally proposed to be built on Hillsborough Road, Charlestown but was refused by the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel in May last year on multiple grounds.

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