Local News

Sydney’s loss was Grafton’s gain

Emma Pritchard As he admired the new Grafton PCYC during the official opening of the complex in September, Peter Kirkwood knew how lucky the local community was to have access to such a wonderful, state-of-the art facility. Describing it as a fantastic addition to the Clarence Valley, Mr Kirkwood said the establishment of the youth organisation was “very fortuitous”, adding the development of what is now the largest PCYC in the state, was partially funded by the unfortunate loss of a metropolitan club. Mr Kirkwood said the Burwood PCYC, one of the earliest PCYC clubs in NSW, was in need of an upgrade several years ago. While the future looked promising in 2015 when Burwood Council and the City of Canada Bay Council met to discuss funding and possibly identify a new site location for the facility, negotiations didn’t progress further and a decision was made to sell Burwood PCYC. Although he reflects on the closure of any PCYC with sadness, Mr Kirkwood, who is also a Director on the Board of PCYC NSW, looked to the future with a positive attitude and a determination to see new PCYC facilities grow throughout Australian communities. “For every adversity there is a sea of greater opportunity,” he said. “It was disappointing that Burwood PCYC was sold and the funds from the sale were sitting there when PCYC NSW mentioned the possibility of opening a new club in Grafton. “Clarence Valley Council were very supportive of the idea, as was the community, so the money was made available to Grafton. “A decision was made to transform the Grafton Sports Centre into Grafton PCYC and some of the proceeds from the sale of Burwood PCYC made up part of the funding for the new $6.5 million facility. “It really was a great initiative to turn the loss of Burwood PCYC into a positive, which is now Grafton PCYC.” Echoing the words spoken by councillor Richie Williamson at the official opening of Grafton PCYC, Mr Kirkwood said PCYC are great investments and the Grafton club is “phenomenal”. “It really has set the bar for the region,” Mr Kirkwood said. “It’s such a modern facility and it will be able to do so much for youths through the programs it offers under the guidance and support of caring, trained staff and the local police. “I feel very proud to have had the opportunity to visit Grafton PCYC and I believe it will change lives. “PCYC is all about providing a safe environment for kids and youths and Grafton has gained an incredibly valuable asset.”