Australian cricketing legend, Mark Taylor AO, was on hand yesterday to officially open a new $3.5 million indoor cricket centre at the Waitara oval named in his honour.
Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock AO said the new indoor centre would be a major benefit for the area.
“Hornsby Shire Council recognises the importance of community sport to its residents, contributing to both their psychical and mental wellbeing,” the Mayor said.
“The investment into this unique new facility will be of great benefit to the area, providing opportunities for cricketers of all levels and abilities from across the Shire and beyond,” he said.
The first of its kind in the region, the indoor centre will be used by men and women’s cricket teams for all weather training and specialist coaching. It also supports use by all abilities programs, providing opportunities for people will disability to participate in sport.
The centre is the second stage of a major upgrade of the oval to improve Hornsby Shire sports and community facilities. In March 2019, the NSW Government announced a $9 million funding commitment for Council and the Northern District Cricket Club to partner in upgrading sporting facilities at Waitara Park which also includes the reconstruction of the oval playing surface and upgrades to the pavilion.
In addition, Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia contributed $200,000 to the indoor centre and Council contributed funds towards the oval upgrade to increase its capacity for use by the wider community.
Member for Hornsby, Matt Kean – who rolled his arm over in the nets (pictured) at the new facility yesterday – said he was delighted to see the opening of the facility that had been home to ‘Tubby’ Taylor in his junior years.
“I’m a bit of a cricket tragic so I’m thrilled these new facilities including a new playing surface, indoor cricket centre and impressive pavilion were made possible by a $9 million funding injection from the NSW Government. These elite facilities will nurture young cricketers for generations to come,” Mr Kean said.
“Through the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund, Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia were able to contribute $200,000 to the project and the results are a wonderful indoor facility and that will no doubt inspire more people to play and love cricket. We congratulate all stakeholders on what has been a collaborative effort that will benefit cricket and the local community,” said Cricket NSW CEO, Lee Germon.
President of the Northern District Cricket Club, Jeremy Hook said the new centre would be a focal point for the local cricket community.
“Facilities such as this will help us in our goal to develop the next Mark Taylor cricketer from our emerging male and female playing ranks,” he said.
“We thank the NSW Government, Hornsby Shire Council and Cricket NSW for their support throughout the project.”
In December, Hornsby Shire Council reopened the oval having completed a raft of Stage One works including improving the oval playing surface, installation of new irrigation and drainage and the construction of a 3m high lightweight safety netting around part of the northern, eastern and western boundaries.
Stage Three focusses upon upgraded off-field supporting infrastructure to accommodate the needs of women, girls and people with disability by improving the changerooms, access and amenities in the pavilion. Whilst some remaining grant money is available for this stage, additional funding is being sought by the club and Council to ensure the complete project can be fully realised, Council said in a statement.