AFL coming to Lismore?

ACTION PACKED: Paul Puopolo of Hawthorn and Gary Ablett of The Gold Coast Suns in action during their Round 21 AFL game at the MCG in Melbourne.
ACTION PACKED: Paul Puopolo of Hawthorn and Gary Ablett of The Gold Coast Suns in action during their Round 21 AFL game at the MCG in Melbourne. Aap

LISMORE is one step closer to seeing elite AFL matches played on Oakes Oval after council voted unanimously at last night's council meeting to undertake an investigation into extending the oval to comply with AFL standards.

The vote follows a meeting last month between AFL Queensland representatives, council staff, and councillor Neil Marks, to revisit a 2010 proposal to expand the ground.

Cr Marks said the investigation would look at the costs of extending the oval, including lights and grandstands, assess the available grants, and study the potential benefits to the wider community.

AFLQ has also raised the possibility of contributing a grant towards expanding the ground as part of its committment to developing AFL in regional areas.

Lismore and the surrounding region is recognised as a potential growth area by the governing body of ths sport, with at least one third of the Gold Coast Suns' fans coming from south of the QLD border.

As the region's sporting centre, AFL representatives said Lismore has the best current infrastructure to acommodate a potential expansion of the game.

An amendment moved by Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins was added to the motion to include a cost-benefit assessment on installing energy efficient lighting at the oval.

Council events coordinator John Bancroft said the current lighting, installed in the mid-1970s, was 'very inefficient' and required regular replacement of light bulbs.

"(Oakes Oval) is now a major piece of infrastructure, which is well-loved and well-used and has a great history of providing fantastic entertainment of may different sorts for our area," said Cr Marks.

"This is a really good chance to look at the future of Oakes Oval and the future of Lismore Park."

The results of the investigation are expected to be announced in a council workshop early next year.

Topics:  afl, lismore city council, neil marks, oakes oval



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