TIME TO ‘GET GOING’ AND MAKE USE OF OUR ISLAND SPORTING FACILITIES.
It was in October 2013 when the Russell Island Sport and Recreation Park was officially opened.
More than $2 million was built in the first stage of the facility.
Redland City Council Mayor, Karen Williams, said at the time: “It boasts a number of sporting fields catering for a range of football codes, four multipurpose tennis courts with markings to accommodate two netball and two basketball courts and lighting to allow night time use.
“Thanks to the free inter-island transport available to all SMBI residents through TransLink services, all bay island residents will be able to enjoy this fantastic facility.”
Cr Mark Edwards added at the time: “The site will become a home for local sport, recreation and community groups to train and compete, as well as being the central venue for community events and gatherings.”
The complex was further enhanced a couple years later on when the multi-million resilience centre and sports facilities, including extensive canteen and meeting rooms, was added, situated neatly between the large playing field and the outstanding tennis courts.
Even a barbecue area was added, ready for the considerable use the complex was hopefully going to host.
It all sounded great in theory, but not in practice.
One major sport, Rugby League did start well, but has since fallen away somewhat.
Attempts were made to start regular soccer games, but again little interest was shown by the community.
A senior tennis club plays at the courts a couple of nights a week, and that is just about it.
The now famous ‘build it and they will come’ adage from movie filmdom, has not applied here.
So what has gone wrong?
Clearly social issues play a part and modern technology has gone a long way to discouraging youth to get their heads out of their phones and into some physical activity.
Building the complex was only part of the issue. Council efforts to encourage private and club use, have literally gone nowhere.
And the blame can be levelled at the feet of council’s ‘do nothing’ sports department.
Several meetings involving people who had little knowledge and even less ability, led to virtually no outcomes.
To put it into context, The Friendly Bay Islander has not heard one word from this section of council in over three years; as we said: do nothing; does nothing.
There are some things that could be done, and it will be up to islanders to show the way.
Island parents could encourage their children to get out and ‘have fun’ and play sport with their friends. The parents, too, could also get involved with sport on the islands.
There are some positive signs in ‘other areas’ with island sailing clubs running good programs, and people and youngsters playing golf, bowls and even table tennis.
However, there needs to be more of it.
Gone are the days when children used to represent their schools at sport, and then play club sport at weekends.
The establishment of the new Bay Islands Junior Tennis Club is definitely a step in the right direction. With a proper structure in place and good promotion, there has been a positive start.
Clearly, similar groups need to be started getting behind sports such as netball, basketball, touch football, athletics and others.
And not just for young people. There should be competitions for children, young adults and seniors in all sports.
It is in these areas that proper organisation and help is required particularly in coordination. We would be happy to show them how!
There is such expertise on the islands, and council needs a program in place to harness organisers who have the drive to make things happen and be part of the State Government’s ‘Get Going’ program.
TIME N TIDE
AND DOWN CAME THE RAIN
Boy, the June rains certainly came down with a rush. There are many islanders reckon we got way more rain over this period that we did via Cyclone Debbie. We think they are right. Our rain gauge at home certainly was over flowing, so we can’t tell you how much rain the islands had in total, but it was a lot and probably around 200ml. We are sure there are some islanders who were more diligent and know the exact amount, but the strongest cells certainly seemed to cross our islands.
HOW’S THIS FOR SERVICE!
Anthony Gleeson, of the Russell Island Post Office, had a phone call from the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park in Derby WA who have had a camera case and Memory card they have found. It contained a business card from the Russell Island Post Office inside. They are holding the items so the owners can contact them to reclaim their photos. If you have recently visited WA and may have inadvertently lost these items, the park can be contacted on 08 9193 1055.
OH SO SLOW WEINAM CREEK TRANSLINK WORK
And so the Weinam Creek new Translink bus terminal has been slowly revealing itself after one of the longest builds for a fairly reasonable build that can be remembered. The contractor, Paynter Dixon, have been painfully slow. The site was ‘fenced off’ for the job in late May of 2016. It has only been in recent days that the fencing has started to be removed; over 12 months to complete a job that should have taken less than six months. Many with a knowledge of building noted that only small numbers of workers were ever on the site at one time. Lining the back of the building, as watched by many islanders over several weeks, would have been completed in days by any roofing company. It seems most of the work is underneath, with the site ready to hold the Sydney Opera House any time they want to move it to Weinam Creek! High roofing, obviously to accommodate buses, and little side protection will not make the new terminal very comfortable in times of stormy weather. Then there’s the cost at $8.15 million; for that we reckon we could have build a mini Opera House!