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07 August 2019
SIR, – Let me ask your readers a question. Why wouldn’t the Horsham Basketball Association want a ‘you beaut’ sports centre, more new courts, and all the facilities?
Let me tell you why.
• The association has documented evidence of similar basketball associations across Victoria ‘jumping ship’ when contracts weren’t honoured and promises broken. Increased cost to use meeting rooms, running tournaments, fees for basketball participants, and usage skyrocketed. This was inevitable as councils and private enterprise found running this edifice was costing more than anticipated.
• The associations lost all autonomy and were no longer in charge of organising their tournaments, championships and training and were allotted a minimal timetable.
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• Our accountants estimated that it would cost $60,000 more to run the same programs we are running now, going by the last figures given to us by the council officers. Most recently they wanted to take us over after just paying the last loan off.
• Basketball associations across Australia are now partnering with the education department and building multi-purpose sports stadiums at schools, sharing costs, maintenance, cleaning etc.
• These stadiums are used through the day by students and after hours by participants of other sports, including table tennis, volleyball, netball, squash and basketball. Usage is then maximised. Most schools already have outdoor sports facilities, or as in Horsham College’s case, lots of adjoining land.
• The council has been single minded in focusing on the showground as the location for the leisure centre with all its problems, for example, flood prone problems, main Melbourne-Adelaide truck route, and traffic congestion. Why?
• The leisure centre and the basketball stadium have now been merged with the town to river precinct, where anybody not affirming the council’s vision of the future is a knocker and not visionary.
• The basketball association agreed to option two, where the basketball stadium was completely separate from the leisure centre. The new plan shows it has now been relocated to join our stadium. The HABA believes that joining the centre to us is a way of the council taking over the stadium by stealth.
• The basketball association fought the council twice over the past 15 years. The last takeover battle ended up where the HABA finally managed to get a 10-year lease, after three years of opposition. Now the lawn tennis and croquet clubs have been given marching orders. Where will it all end?
• Be wary ratepayers; if you say yes to the town to river project, you are also saying yes to a $27-million leisure centre. You will be picking up the tab for many years for running this white elephant. The population does not warrant it.
President, Horsham Amateur
The entire August 7, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!