THE stomping grounds of Cairns Basketball and the Taipans’ training venue will undergo major redevelopment, thanks to a $1.5 million election commitment from the Coalition Government, as part of a wider $3 million project.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch has welcomed the signing‐off of the funding agreement, that will mean that Cairns Basketball will receive the first tranche of funding in the coming months.
The project will see the construction of a new court, a specialised sports science building and landscaping.
“Through expanding the facilities, Cairns Basketball will continue to grow the sport at the grassroots level for boys and girls teams, indigenous youth, and disability groups, including reinstating the very successful Midnight Basketball program,” Mr Entsch said.
“The opportunity to host eight international teams during the preliminary rounds of the 2018 Commonwealth Games will also bring massive exposure to the region through international broadcasting and economic benefit from visitor spending.
“Right now, the venue isn’t large enough or suitably equipped to cope, and even the community groups and junior and senior teams often have to hire out other venues for training because the court capacity at Cairns Basketball is being exceeded.
“I’d like to congratulate Cairns Basketball, in particular Mark Beecroft, President Cairns Basketball and Cairns Taipans CEO, and Chris Van Dorssen, Vice President Cairns Basketball, for very actively promoting this project ‐ I’m incredibly pleased to have secured this investment and I can’t wait to see the redevelopment come to fruition.”
Cairns Basketball President and Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft said he was grateful for the Government’s support, and how their commitment will directly benefit the grassroots of basketball.
“This is really special and we couldn’t be more thrilled with Warren’s support. This has happened over a long period of time and a lot of conversations around building a strategy to really capitalise on what the Taipans have been able to achieve in the community, and that’s drive their profile around positive messages.
“Having those players in the community has meant we are now hamstrung for space at Cairns Basketball – we don’t have the ability to cater to all the boys and girls that actually want to play the game and this funding will directly build capacity for our ability to grow at a grassroots level.”
Cairns Basketball is managing the overall expansion works and Mike Scott, Cairns Basketball General Manager, said the construction of a sports science building would provide the opportunity to partner with a tertiary institution to accommodate a research and teaching space.
“We’re also really happy to be reinstating Midnight Basketball which will provide young people an opportunity to engage in activities and games associated with basketball in a supervised and safe environment,” Mr Scott said.
The redevelopment is expected to be completed by March 2018.