EXCITING: Ground floor site plans of the Whitsunday Sportspark.
EXCITING: Ground floor site plans of the Whitsunday Sportspark. Contributed

Unlocked talent

THE final five stages of the Whitsunday Sportspark Master Plan will unlock a plethora of opportunities for local sport and tourism.

This is the view of Whitsunday Sportspark president Justin Butler who said the park would attract high-profile talent to the area.

"We know with Airlie Beach's profile and being a real tourism destination in Australia, if you start bringing sports into it then it would be similar to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales which has some great facilities,” he said.

"It would be a real magnet for the Wallabies, Kangaroos, Socceroos, Diamonds or Lions who might want to do pre-season training here.

"That is what we are trying to develop here, to have the playing facilities to a standard where you can get those sort of teams here and leverage that with the fact that everyone wants to come here anyway for the tourism perspective.”

Following on from the new club house, stage four will be all about the re-development of the AFL field.

This will mean new irrigation, improved turf works and better lighting on the oval field.

Relocation of the netball courts toward the southern end of the park will come into focus for stage five.

"We do have continual problems with the courts cracking, as the idea is to get them on more stable ground and have the netballers playing down there,” Mr Butler said.

Stage 6 will see the Airlie Beach bowls club introduced to the Sportspark, so they wouldn't be required to operate on a concrete surface.

"And having a bowls club next to the club makes sense from a dining and gaming perspective,” Mr Butler added.

Stage 7 will see indoor courts added to the bowls club for use during wet weather.

This will see the club become a multi-purpose indoor sports building encompassing basketball, netball and volleyball.

Stage 8 will see the Sportspark working together with PCYC to create an aquatic centre, consisting of a 50m and 25m pool, equipped with dormitory accommodation for inland visitors.

"Ultimately we will end up with an aquatic centre precinct, indoor courts, outdoor courts and the PCYC facilities with gym and indoor courts and a top quality bar and bistro and club as the hub of it all,” Mr Butler said.

However, this cannot be done without the support of community sponsors - and it is these organisations which will have an opportunity to stake their claim to the area with naming rights.

There will be major sponsor rights for organisations open to putting their name to the Whitsunday Sportspark and also naming rights for individual fields.

Mr Butler encouraged all interested parties to get in touch and discuss their thoughts.

"We are keen to engage with sponsors as we put together a prospectus for sponsors,” he said.

"Rather than putting forward a prospectus and saying this is what we will offer we would rather talk to people who are interested.

"The major naming rights sponsor would be mentioned in all websites and social media and with everything to do with the club.”