The Heffron Centre, a planned state-of-the-art sporting and community facility in Maroubra’s Heffron Park, has moved a step closer with plans for the facility now on public exhibition.
Billed as a multi-purpose facility, it would include sports halls to accommodate netball, basketball, badminton, volleyball and futsal, as well as the headquarters of the South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league club. A gymnasium, cafe and plaza are also part of the plans.
The facility – jointly funded by Randwick City Council, the state and federal governments, and the Rabbitohs – is designed by the award-winning Co-op Studio.
The design was inspired by the landscape, culture and people of the Randwick Council local government area. Dune style planting would integrate the structure into the park, while more than 100 new native trees and shrubs are proposed.
The centre itself would include rooftop solar panels and stormwater collection, and is designed to maximise natural light and ventilation to reduce the use of air-conditioning and electricity. Bicycle parking and charging infrastructure for electric cars would also be included.
According to Randwick Mayor Danny Said, the facility would enhance local residents’ wellbeing.
“This is an important investment in the health and wellbeing of our community. We have designed a facility which is adaptable to cater for the changing needs of our community, water and energy efficient reducing the impact on our environment, and using durable materials minimising future maintenance costs,” the mayor said in a media statement.
“This project will transform this part of Heffron Park into an active and vibrant place for the entire community,” he said.
While the plans have generally been well received, not all residents are happy, with the involvement of the Rabbitohs a particular point of contention.
In a post on the Randwick City Council Facebook page, Facebook user Mary Richard wrote: “What a windfall for the Rabbitohs – 20 years’ free rent for a paltry $4 million plus the grants they raised!”
Zara Tai said: “No go to the Rabbitohs. Heffron Park should be a community park, not an administrative centre for elite sports.”
Meanwhile, Liam Horgan wrote: “Council should not be giving $4 [million] of ratepayers’ money to Russel Crowe [and] James Packer … plus a large section of a public park.”
Hollywood star Crowe and entrepreneur Packer both have significant financial interests in the Rabbitohs.
The Heffron Centre is on public exhibition until close of business this Thursday, 15 October. For more information, visit www.yoursay.randwick.nsw.gov.au/theheffroncentre.
Subject to development approval, construction will commence in mid 2021, with the facility opening in late 2022.
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