IN THE GAME: Goulburn Basketball Association president Steve Ruddell believes too much negativity is surrounding the multiuse complex debate. He says with more professional facilities, Goulburn will draw more state tournaments and vital money for its economy. GOULBURN’S basketballers are looking for a bounce in their sport with a planned new multiuse centre.
The city should not be turning its back on the chance to snare state and country tournaments and an economic boost, local Association president Steve Ruddell says. He’s weighed into debate about the $5.7 million centre, saying there’s too much focus on its so called inadequacy for performing arts and not enough recognition of its benefits.
He and many of the sport’s 500 local members have been frequently embarrassed by the state of the Recreation Area courts.
“I remember when the new court was added in 1984, but really we’ve had nothing since,” Mr Ruddell told the Post.
“You walk into other complexes in places smaller than Goulburn and this looks like a chook shed compared to them.”
The council has engaged Bathurst based Hines Constructions to build the multiuse complex at the Recreation Area. The first stage, to be constructed on the northern side of the current courts, includes an indoor sports facility and a limited performance space.
It will accommodate two basketball courts, room for netball, indoor soccer, gymnastics, karate and more. All up, the Association will have five courts. Mr Ruddell acknowledges it won’t be ideal for all musical events but indoor sports will take off. Currently the Rec Area has three courts, two of which are under standard size. Basketball NSW demands four standard size courts to run championship events and for this reason, Goulburn isn’t attracting the big tournaments. “We are being told that with this facility, Goulburn will get some of the tournaments now going to the ACT area,” Mr Ruddell.
“The other advantage is that being located between Sydney and Canberra, we’re a central point to gain more basketball clinics and the like. As Kevin Costner said in Field of Dreams, ‘build it and they will come.’ I think this will really reinvigorate the local competition.” From October 27-28 Ss Peter and Paul’s Primary School will host the NSW Catholic Primary Schools Basketball Championships.
The school, which also hosted the event in 2008, is expecting 115 teams and 3300 people to visit the city. But games are spread around seven local venues, including the Rec Area, Police College and PCYC.
Mr Ruddell said holding the event in one place would be logistically easier.
Tournaments like this are bringing in big money. In 2008 Ss Peter and Paul’s School made a $26,000 profit, which is being spent on playground equipment.
“NSW Basketball CEO Kim Murphy has guaranteed us state events, training and the NSW Country Championships if we can get the indoor facility here,” Mr Ruddell said.
“The country championships were held in Maitland this year and about 35 teams converged on the town.
“It also brings in parents, managers, referees and that’s the big advantage. It’s bringing a lot of money into the city.” He believes Goulburn will host more state basketball teams, like the Sydney Flames with the new complex.
Although great for indoor sport, Mr Ruddell says just like other facilities in Sydney, Wollongong and Wodonga, the centre will still be ideal for concerts and some eisteddfod categories.
In his 30-year involvement in local basketball he says the facility is an overdue boost for the sport which has a 52-year history in Goulburn.
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