The first sod has been turned on the $13.6 million Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Stadium.
The stadium will be built next to the existing Bomaderry Basketball Stadium on Artie Smith Oval, complementing the adjacent sporting precinct.
Long time campaigner for the complex John Martin was given the honour of turning the first sod and was joined by Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley, NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and Kiama MP Gareth Ward.
The new stadium will cater for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, netball and badminton. It will also be suitable for many other sports users and programs.
Council has allocated $13.6 million in its budget for the project, with a further $3 million needed to complete the final fit out.
The complex will have the ability to stage large indoor regional, state and possibly national sporting competitions.
It is estimated to have the potential to generate millions of sport tourism dollars into city each year.
The centre will include four multipurpose sports court, a show court with seating for 600 people, a large mezzanine area, large storage areas, administration area, creche, other facilities and the associated car and bus parking.
Mayor Amanda Findley said that the stadium is a much-anticipated project that has been in the planning for many years.
“This project has considerable support from the community and in particular, the sporting groups that have been so closely involved on the working group,” she said.
“This is the first stage of a larger sporting and community precinct to meet the needs of the community now and into the future.
“While the construction of the indoor sports centre progresses, council and staff will continue to work with the community, sports organisations and businesses to realise the vision for the whole site with the development of the Shoalhaven Community and Recreation Precinct.”
Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said that it is exciting to see local councils investing in the future of sport in their area.
“I commend Shoalhaven City Council on this first step towards establishing a high quality indoor sporting centre for the Shoalhaven community,” he said.
“I encourage all the sports clubs and players who will use this facility to make the most of the $100 Active Kids Rebate opening early next year and to apply for funding to assist purchasing a defibrillator through the Local Sport Defibrillator Program.”
Construction and commissioning of the sports centre is expected to take approximately 18-20 months, with the facility opening in early 2019.