Nanango & District Netball Association president Georgina Mitchell and NBNA member Wawida Collins, who helps bring young players from Cherbourg each week, are both very pleased with the Association’s bright, new courts

June 19, 2018

Nanango netballers were back in action for the first time on their eye-popping new courts on Friday afternoon.

The fixtures games were a low-key start for the new courts, but a much bigger celebration will occur on Sunday (June 24) when the Nanango & District Netball Association holds a special get-together to thank the many sponsors who made the refurbishment possible.

This sponsors’ event will coincide with Day 1 of the Central Burnett Challenge, a multi-town competition involving netballers from Nanango, Gayndah, Mundubbera and Monto which is expected to attract as many as 200 players.

But the biggest celebration of all will need to wait until August when Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud – who helped the club secure a $200,000 grant to put an end to five gruelling years of fundraising – officially opens the facility.

The Netball Association’s need to build new courts began in 2013 when flooding caused extensive damage to its Nanango-Brooklands Road site.

Two of the club’s four courts were rendered unusable, and the remaining two were deeply cracked.

What made the situation even more devastating for the club was that just a short time before, the courts had been completely refurbished thanks to a $51,000 grant from Nanango’s Heritage Community Branch.

Club officials said the problem with the courts was that they were built in a flood-prone area on a base of old bitumen left over from the early days of the Tarong Power Station’s construction.

This meant the base wasn’t flood resistant.

So when floods inundated the area in 2013, water seeped through it and caused the courts to buckle and crack.

The club realised it needed to get a permanent fix for the problem, which involved ripping up the existing courts and rebuilding them on a block of concrete.

The problem they faced was that it would cost more than $308,000 to do this, and it led to a what turned out to be a five-year fundraising drive.

By January this year, the netball club had secured funding commitments from Heritage Community Branch, the Gambling Community Benefit Fund, the South Burnett Regional Council, Stanwell Corporation and other donors totalling $108,000.

Club members thought they might be facing at least another decade of fundraising before they could achieve their target.

But last year, 12-year-old netballer Makenzie Gerber wrote to Member for Maranoa David Littleproud to alert him to the club’s dilemma and ask if he could do anything to help.

Mr Littleproud inspected the netball courts soon afterwards and promised he would try to find a solution.

In January, Mr Littleproud announced he had helped the club secure a $200,000 grant from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy because 60 of the club’s 150 members come from Cherbourg.

The grant was approved by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion because it would provide significant opportunities for Indigenous women and girls in the region to participate in netball activities.

Work on the new courts began on March 26 and was finished on June 8, after which the courts had to be left to cure for a week before club members could play on them.

Last Friday, they were packed with eager netballers keen to give them a maiden run.

Netball club president Georgina Mitchell said she was “over the moon” about the new courts, which have been painted in the netball club’s colours of blue and purple.

“We’ve all waited a long time for this to happen, and we’re very grateful to everyone who’s helped us,” Georgina said.

The new courts now sit on a solid block of concrete, with drainage channels to divert floodwaters around them.

The courts also slope slightly, to help rainwater drain off quickly.

Related articles:

Players took to the new netball courts with enthusiasm on Friday afternoon
Netballer Mia Glenny was happy to demonstrate the source of inspiration for the new courts’ colour scheme (Photo: Belinda Spencer)
The new courts should be able to withstand anything Mother Nature throws at them in the future … they now sit on a thick concrete base protected by a network of drainage channels

FLASHBACK: Former NDNA president Sheena Lindholm, Makenzie Gerber, Member for Maranoa David Littleproud and SBRC Sports portfolio chair Cr Roz Frohloff at January's announcement that the rebuilding of the netball courts would go ahead after a five-year fundraising effort by the netball club

 
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