Wollongong City Council has received a $3.5 million Budget funding commitment from the NSW Government for the Illawarra Sports and Entertainment Precinct (ISEP).
The State Budget released yesterday allocated the funds to develop a detailed business case and masterplan for the Precinct’s future.
The move follows a report released by Wollongong City Council in March this year that called on the NSW Government to immediately and appropriately fund and resource a comprehensive master plan and business case for redevelopment of the precinct, informed by a robust community engagement strategy.
Wollongong City Council General Manager, Greg Doyle says the funding news was a momentous step toward uplifting the Wollongong entertainment and foreshore area.
“This precinct is one of the city’s greatest assets as a destination to celebrate, be entertained and enjoy the natural beauty of our coastal setting,” he said.
“A revitalised Illawarra Sports and Entertainment Precinct at the Wollongong foreshore will deliver a thriving and unique experience that will strengthen the region’s visitor economy, support job growth and enhance the liveability of our city.
“The funding announcement for the Illawarra Sports and Entertainment Precinct report comes at a really critical time, with several local parties enthusiastic in participating in the process towards the revitalisation of this key regional asset serving the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Southern and South West Sydney.”
Council’s report set out context and options for redevelopment of the ISEP – which includes the Venues NSW assets of WIN Entertainment Centre, WIN Stadium and training field – and put forward a redevelopment option which would see a rebuild of the existing venues and facilities consistent with the existing planning and legislative frameworks applying to the site.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery AM said Council was committed to a long-term plan for the activation of the foreshore area as a world-class space for community and visitors.
“Council has invested significant resources into local planning policies for the precinct as well as providing much-needed infrastructure in areas surrounding the precinct and we will continue to uplift our city’s foreshore areas along the Blue Mile – whether that be through the development of a Master Plan for Stuart Park that is currently underway and the planned Master Plan for Lang Park, the construction of a new North Wollongong Surf Club building and seawall, or improvements to Marine Drive,’’ he said.
Mayor Bradbery said the timing of the funding announcement was welcome news ahead of Wollongong hosting the 2022 UCI Road Championships in September.
“The Championships will put us on the map like never before as an enormous global audience will attend or tune into this exciting event.”
“We hope to welcome visitors back again in the future – and in a few years to experience a world-class foreshore entertainment and sports precinct,” he said.
Wollongong City Council will also continue to advocate for an appropriate maintenance program for existing facilities in the interim, the Mayor confirmed.