Local jobs first
WORK on the eagerly anticipated Whitsunday Sportspark master plan is set to get off the ground before the year is out.
Stage one of the project will see earthworks, irrigation and new lighting being installed at the bottom field.
Quoting is slated to take place in October with the tender for works to go out shortly after between November and December, with completion scheduled for January to February 2018.
Stage two and three will be a much longer process, involving the demolition and rebuild of the Whitsunday Sportspark club house.
Whitsunday Sportspark president Justin Butler said the new club house would take 12-18 months to build and will re-define the sporting facility.
"The actual building of this clubhouse will be four times bigger than the current one and would take up entire carpark,” he said.
Quoting will be under way between September-October and demolition will begin before the year ends.
While the first three stages will come at a cost of $6.5 million, the reconstruction is expected to pay for itself and more in the long term.
"The idea is the profits from the club would not only pay the debt off but also build sport right through the region,” he said.
"The profit figures will flow money into the shire and the next few stages of master plan over 10 years.”
Mr Butler said a project manager had been appointed and all the boxes would soon be ticked for the project to take shape.
The works present an opportunity for local tradespeople to leave a mark on the Sportspark.
Mr Butler said preference would be given to tradespeople in the Whitsunday area which had the necessary skills to carry out the job.
"The intention is to use local trades and local people wherever we possibly can,” he said.
"Obviously the cyclone may have impact on that, but if local tradies have the capability to do do the job, and the project managers believe they have the capability, they will win the tender.
"We will always go with local trades over somewhere down south if we think they are comparable.”
However, Mr Butler stressed the lead builder would be required to meet the tight time-frame required
"It (also) depends on their work load post cyclone because everyone is flat out. We have deadlines with State and Federal funding where we have to have things done within certain time frames and we really do need to start in the next few months.”
While the tender process is yet to begin, 3-4 local builders have already expressed interest in taking on the lead role of the project as well as numerous electricians, painters prepared to quote for prospective roles.
The following five stages of the project will progress over a 10-15 year period as further financial support and potential sponsoring becomes available in due course.