From the Newsroom

President of the Grafton Netball Association Brooke Burton (top left), along with local netballers, welcomed Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and representatives from Clarence Valley Council (CVC) for the formal announcement of a $947382 grant to rejuvenate the netball courts at Westward Park in Grafton. Image: Emma Pritchard

Chri$tma$ for Grafton Netballers

Emma Pritchard

When Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis announced a grant of close to $1 million from the Nationals in NSW Government to rejuvenate and upgrade the Grafton Netball Association’s facilities at Westward Park late last year, President of the Grafton Netball Association Brooke Burton said it was one of the best Christmas presents which had ever been received.

Describing the announcement as “huge and exciting news” for Clarence Valley netballers and the many schools and visiting clubs which utilise the local facilities for annual competitions and sports carnivals, Ms Burton said the Grafton Netball Association have been wanting to upgrade the site for a long time.

“This announcement means a lot to us,” she said.

“We’re all really excited, all the players are really happy and it means a lot to us going forward.”

Ms Burton said one of the main upgrades would be resurfacing the courts to provide safer playing conditions along with establishing more shade and seating for visitors and spectators.

“It’s going to look so good once it’s completed,” she said.

Mr Gulaptis said while securing the $947382 grant “took a couple of attempts,” Clarence Valley Council (CVC) was successful with its application under the Regional Sports Facility Fund, describing the announcement as “Christmas time for local netballers who can look forward to new, safer playing surfaces, environmentally friendly lighting, extra seating and more shade.”

Mr Gulaptis also said the Nationals in NSW Government were particularly focused on upgrading women’s sport facilities, in order to ‘level the playing field’, including with extra changing rooms and toilets.

“It was only last month that the Lower Clarence Netball Association won a Nationals in NSW Government grant for disabled access to their facilities,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“Casino Netball also saw an investment of nearly $240000 to upgrade its lighting thanks to funding it secured from the NSW Government last year.

“Here in Grafton, we hope the 4 clubs that use the Westward Park courts will be able to further swell their numbers, which already stand at an impressive, combined total of 525 locals.”

Mr Gulaptis added that better facilities also improve the Grafton Netball Association’s chances of hosting regional competitions, bringing much needed visitor dollars to local hospitality and small businesses battered by Covid-19.

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