The Shoalhaven Basketball Stadium at Bomaderry sits forlornly, almost forgotten, against its sparkling new neighbour the $16.4m Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre, which glistens in the sun and stands as a shining example of what can be achieved.
The final-top level basketball game at the Den was in August 2019, when the Youth League Tigers went down to Manly-Warringah.
Once refurbished to be included in the new complex, the facility could provide six courts, four including a show court in the new centre, and two more at the former Den.
That would be more than adequate for the complex to bid for and maybe host national events, pushing the dream of attracting more sports tourism dollars to the region.
Council says it remains committed to creating a Shoalhaven Community and Recreation Precinct in the area, which would include the new indoor sports centre, a major upgrade of Artie Smith Oval to provide state-level facilities for cricket Australian Football and croquet.
And then there are the plans to develop the northern side of Cambewarra Road at the Bomaderry Sporting Complex, including a tartan athletics track and upgrade to pool facilities.
It is planned the precinct will provide open space and community facilities in one location, including a community pavilion providing support services that have the potential to provide aquatic, medical, physiotherapy, rehabilitation health, wellness and fitness services.
As part of the master plan for the precinct, council undertook a functional review of the existing Bomaderry Basketball Stadium to assess whether the facility was compliant and would meet future community sporting needs.
"The review found the building to be non-compliant in many aspects and as a result, was closed for safety reasons until upgrade works could be completed," a council spokesperson said.
Meaning the building is off-limits, even as a training facility.
Council has identified a number of required upgrade works, including the replacement of external cladding, guttering and downpipes, removal of hazardous materials (asbestos) and improvements to accessibility.
"Council staff are in the process of conducting technical investigations to support a development application," the spokesperson said.
"These assessments are expected to be completed by the end of this financial year."
The spokesperson said "following those technical investigations, a budget allocation and delivery timeframes would be determined".
"Council will progress steps to enable the lodgement of the development application to be funded within existing budgets," the spokesperson said.
"As part of this process, council will consult with current and potential user groups and community members on the proposed upgrade works. Feedback from the community will provide input into the proposed upgrades.
"Council is committed to providing state-of-the-art sporting facilities across the Shoalhaven for its residents and visitors to stay active and connected.
"The Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre has four multi-purpose courts, which are regularly used for basketball training and competitions.
"The complex has availability for bookings and endeavours to accommodate booking requests from all user and sporting groups. "
Despite showing its age the Den, as it is affectionately known, was considered by many to have some of the best floors in the state.
National Basketball League team, and nearby neighbours, the Illawarra Hawks, have in the past regularly staged trial matches at the Den, giving the floor of court one, in particular, high marks.
Many a stirring night has been spent at the Den cheering on the Tigers basketball teams to victories.
Over the years the Den has hosted numbers of other sporting events like being the former home of Shoalhaven Volleyball [now relocated to the new centre], numerous community events, concerts have been staged there, even wrestling events.
Council says it expects to start works on the southern section of the Shoalhaven Community and Recreation Precinct project, the upgrades to Artie Smith Oval, in mid-October 2021.
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