The announcement by Gurmesh Singh MP of a $215,000 grant towards the cost of new female change rooms, a referees’ room, storage space and an accessible pathway at Toormina Oval to benefit local soccer, cricket and Little Athletic clubs has been welcomed by Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Councillor Denise Knight.
“This is another great example of community groups and diverse levels of government working together to get a great result,” she said. “I’d like to thank the State Government for coming to the party with their Stronger Country Communities grant, which added to Council’s contribution of $375,000, means we can get this fantastic project off the ground.
“New infrastructure projects are critical for regional towns especially in the current environment as we look at all types of post-pandemic recovery strategies.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved from Sawtell Football Club who have been such an important part of this whole project. Council has had a focus on this plan for some time and we’re also great supporters of providing facilities that will encourage young women to take up and enjoy sport.”
The planned new facilities will be constructed in a similar style to the recently-built new toilet block at the site pictured above.
Sawtell Football Club, North Coast Football’s largest soccer club with around 550 members, will be the main beneficiaries of the new facilities, but cricket and Little Athletic participants are also regular users of the ground.
Simon Portus, President of Sawtell Football Club said: “Sawtell FC are so excited that our female players will now have dedicated facilities, not just for their privacy and comfort but also so they know they belong at our club.
“It’s fantastic to see the growth of women’s football around the world, and having it supported at a grassroots level by local and state government is a really big part of that growth.
“As one of the largest football clubs on the North Coast, we are looking at a whole range of ways to grow female participation and these new change rooms are a really important part of that.”
The project will complement a range of security improvements undertaken recently in the Toormina Sports Complex precinct to help reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.
Council also recently completed new public toilets on the site at a cost of $303,000, which is another key upgrade for the overall Toormina site masterplan.