Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre

16th February 2022

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (19:03): I wish to update the House on a matter I first raised in this Chamber in 2019. In March of that year, while the Government was in caretaker mode, the Office of Sport evacuated and closed Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre without warning on the basis of a risk report prepared for Origin Energy, which owns the nearby Eraring Power Station and associated ash dam.

I do not wish to go over too much old ground, but it is fair to say that neither the Lake Macquarie community nor I agreed with the closure and certainly not with the way it was done, but we have continued to work towards making sure we received a replacement centre. I am happy to report that we have cleared a major hurdle in achieving that. Last month the sport Minister joined me and a local delegation at Morisset, where a new sport and recreation hub will be established. This has been a difficult process to traverse. When the Myuna Bay centre was closed, the Office of Sport and Origin Energy agreed that a new centre would be built on a site that was owned by Origin and away from any risk posed by the dam. They eventually settled on a 21-hectare site at Eraring, but the site was a compromise. As with most compromises, it left a good deal wanting.

I knew we could do better, so I set out to find a better solution. That led me to Morisset. The new site is perfect for a sport and recreation centre. It is located on Morisset Park Road and loosely fits between Morisset Hospital and Bonnells Bay Public School. Long-time residents remember the site as the former piggery and farm that was part of the Morisset Hospital estate. While the land is now part of the State conservation area, it has had no attention since the piggery and farm operation ceased in the late 1980s. While mostly cleared, it is covered with weeds and is heavily degraded. I commissioned some architectural images depicting how this could work and, armed with those concept images, I spoke with the Office of Sport and the Minister about the possibility. On receiving some promising comments, I undertook additional discussions with local community members and had overwhelmingly positive feedback.

I am pleased to say that the Morisset site is now formally the preferred location. As I mentioned earlier, it has been locked in by Minister Ayres as the home of the new Lake Macquarie sport and recreation hub. An extensive public consultation phase, which will feed into the final design phase, will start soon. The likes of the Lake Macquarie City Council have already expressed a desire to be a part of the process, along with local police commander Superintendent Rashelle Conroy, who sees great opportunities for organisations, such as the PCYC, to be involved. My own office has fielded dozens of calls from local sporting organisations that want to be a part of this exciting project. It will be a twenty-first century facility that will be open to the local community, so things like playing fields, swimming pools, indoor sports halls and tennis courts—if they eventuate—can be used by everyone, not just those groups taking part in traditional sport and recreation activities. Origin Energy remains committed to funding the replacement centre, as per the commitment it made when the Myuna Bay centre was closed. I thank Origin for confirming that commitment. It may have taken three years to get here, but I am happy that things are finally moving ahead.

I acknowledge the support of Karen Jones and her team at the Office of Sport, the sport Minister and a number of others who acted in that capacity previously, including the member for Drummoyne, the member for Parramatta and the Hon. Natalie Ward from the other place. I have kept in touch with some of the staff who worked at the Myuna Bay centre, and they remain absolutely passionate about the role that sport and recreation centres play in educating and developing young people from our communities. I value their knowledge and advice and thank them for that. Eraring residents, particularly Terry Pascoe, were very patient and helpful as options were examined. I thank the members of the Lake Macquarie community for the support they have provided and the patience they have shown in getting to this point. I especially thank the 16,000 people who signed my petition when the Myuna Bay centre was closed. There is more to do, but we are well on the way to achieving something fantastic for our local community. Myuna Bay served the community well for over 60 years, and I am very proud to say that Morisset will serve us well for generations to come.

Website: Read the Parliamentary Hansard here

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