Youth plaza opens at long last
There was a time when it looked like it would never happen, but the Youth Plaza at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC) was officially opened last Saturday.
The Youth Plaza, which includes a skate park, half basketball court, shade structures and a performance stage was included in the original design of the GSAC but was dependant upon funding from the Regional Partnerships program under the Howard government. But the funding program was pulled in the lead up to the 2007 election amidst allegations of pork barrelling.
But then along came the global financial crisis and the Rudd government started throwing money at local governments who had plans for infrastructure projects gathering dust in a filing cabinet somewhere and voila!, the youth of Goonellabah got their plaza back again.
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said it was a “wonderful day”.
“To see the kids looking through the security fence before it was officially opened, it was like seeing kids looking into a toy shop or a lolly shop or something,” she said. “They were dying to get in and the really positive comments we got were really gratifying.”
Mayor Dowell said the space was “well and truly overdue” for the youth of Goonellabah.
“I was on the P&C committee at Kadina 10 years ago when they asked kids what they wanted for a recreational space and overwhelmingly they said “a pool and a skate park”. Well we delivered on the pool, but until the federal government came along we really didn't know when we would be able to deliver on the skate park. So it has been a long time coming. It's often felt like three steps forward and two back.”