Councillor criticises timing of $25m sport hub opening

STADIUM: The $25 million sport hub is Port Pirie Regional Council greatest structure and deserves a special opening date, according to a councillor.
STADIUM: The $25 million sport hub is Port Pirie Regional Council greatest structure and deserves a special opening date, according to a councillor.

A councillor has slammed the timing of the opening ceremony for the region’s $25 million sport hub.

The ceremony will be performed by Governor Hieu Van Le before the AFL preseason Showdown between Crows and Power at Memorial Oval on March 2.

Cr Neville Wilson told the latest Port Pirie Regional Council meeting that it was wrong to have the ceremony on the same day as a football match.

“I am concerned about involving two functions together,” he said.

He said the hub was probably the council’s most costly project for the next 25 to 30 years.

“You can go to 200 football matches this year, but you can go to only one opening function,” he said.

“I am disappointed the structure has been put up for the next 50 years and is going to be diluted by having an AFL match on the same day.

“Our day of glory has gone.”

Cr Mick Hopgood backed Cr Wilson, saying if politicians on the guest-list for the ceremony wanted to go to an AFL match, they could buy a ticket.

Cr Kendall Jackson said the occasion would be “exciting”.

“We are going to have people there who might not have bothered to go to the opening,” she said. “Lets make it a fantastic opportunity and make it really special.”

Mayor Leon Stephens said the community open day at the hub would still happen. It will be as soon as possible after the preseason match.

Councillors voted to amend the council budget by including $88,400 income and $91,400 spending for the match and associated requirements.

Crystal Brook-based Cr Wilson also targeted what he said were “inconsistent” Motor Accident Commission signs in the Mid North. “Every time I drive home, I see a sign saying to ‘stop at Port Wakefield’,” he said.

This failed to mention “iconic” Crystal Brook.

Meanwhile, another sign at Port Germein said to stop at the seaside town.

Cr Wilson, seconded by Cr Hopgood, moved that council protest to the Transport Minister and commission.

The protest will target “inconsistent highway signs encouraging motorists to take a break.”

The council will highlight that a sign near Laura says, “take a break at Laura”, and similarly near Dublin a sign says, “take a break at Dublin”, yet the sign near Crystal Brook says, “take a break at Port Wakefield", some 110 kilometres away.

“Why not have a sign pointing to Crystal Brook or Redhill?” he said.

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