The Western Region Institute of Sport has the potential to turn Dubbo into the most popular place west of the Blue Mountains for a variety of state and national championships, says mayor Ben Shields.
“The economic benefit could be extraordinary,” he said in the same week as the project was announced by Deputy Premier and Leader of the NSW Nationals John Barilaro.
The $44.5 million facility will be developed at Charles Sturt University, Dubbo Campus.
Cr Shields said initially it would include a multi-sport indoor facility and administrative hub as well as a new $6 million PCYC centre.
But the mayor said expansion plans included the construction of 24 outdoor courts, a tennis centre and potentially a FIFA-standard synthetic soccer field.
The mayor said feedback from organisations like Hockey NSW and Cricket NSW showed the city would immediately enter the running for major competitions that would bring “millions of dollars in visitation”.
“This has the potential to turn Dubbo into the most popular location west of the Blue Mountains for state and national championships for a large number of sports,” he said.
“I already believe Dubbo is the sporting capital of Western NSW but having the Western Region Institute of Sport allows us to aim even higher.
“The more events and competitions we can draw here, the better it is for the city.
“Those big events are fantastic for filling our motels and getting people into local businesses.
“We are seeing at the moment, because of the drought, just how important that is.
“Additionally, our young athletes will now be able to stay in the city longer and still have access to elite training facilities, and we have the capacity to draw others here for training camps.”
Cr Shields said the benefits to the community of the Western Region Institute of Sport went beyond dollars and cents.
“This will also encourage sporting participation which will have a dramatic impact on the health and well- being of our residents as well,” he said.
“I would also hope it would have an impact on the rate of women and girls participating in sport.
“Sport should be inclusive and a lot of Dubbo Regional Council’s recent decisions on sporting facilities have focused around increasing female participation.”